The nation continues to grieve and to grapple with the unfathomable horror that unfolded Friday in a Newtown, Conn., school, where a madman massacred 27 people, 20 of them children.
It was all too familiar. The nation has seen the senseless tragedy before. Columbine. Virginia Tech. An Oregon mall. As horrible as they were, this time the victims were carefree children none older than 10 only hours before sent off to school by loving parents.
And we remember the heroes, the teachers and staff who sacrificed their lives protecting frightened, horrified children whose lives will be forever changed by the memory of their dead classmates and teachers. As President Obama said, Their innocence has been torn away from them too early.
We mourn with parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, who will no longer celebrate the childrens birthdays or applaud them at the school concert. The approaching holiday will never be the same.
We struggle to understand why. But that is beyond comprehension. Remarks by President Obama and other leaders restarted the national discussion about gun control. Schools will be re-examining their safety policies. Visitors welcomed by opened doors might find them locked now. All in due time.
For now, we do what anxious, relieved parents did when they arrived at the Newtown fire station to learn their children were among the living. We hug our children, remind them we love them, and then pause to say a prayer for us and for Newtown.