"It's going to be the best Christmas Ever...."
"I don't have much family so I told him we'd make it the best we could."
Jessie Lewis and his father had this conversation the night before Jessie was gunned down at Sandy Hook High School. Now his incredible father, Neil Heslin, who calls Jessie his "best friend"says that in a way his son was right, this will be the best Christmas ever because it has taught him the true meaning of Christmas, of love and support and unity between people all over the world.
Incredibly strong words from a man fully in his right to choose anger and hatred. And we all could. I did at first. I cried and screamed and railed against violence and guns and all. But as the tension lowers and people begin to think, violence and hate cannot respond to violence and hate. Heslin speaks true that we at least need to focus on the meaning of Christmas. Focus on love and peace, and don't let the little things piss us off, because people are hurting more than we.
Look up every victim name. Take five minutes and read each story and do your best to memorize each name. Forget the shooter's name, and remember the children. Each incredbile little soul and the mothers and teachers taken down with them deserve nothing but memory and love.
If we cannot bring them back, we'll make DAMN SURE they are remembered forever, and remembered and celebrated as amazing lives this Christmas.
Jenny Haining, American University 2013