The tragic news from Sandy Hook Elementary has galvanized the nation in support of dozens of grieving families. Blame will be cast and speeches made, urging reforms on gun ownership and mental health treatments. Whether any of the promises are carried out is speculation. It’s easy to talk.
I’m at an age that I can look back at several tragedies in American history.
November 22, 1963. A Friday. Our elementary school was let out early. We didn’t learn until after we arrived home that our president had been assassinated. Before the birth of CNN and FoxNew and a hundred other cable stations, we had three. All weekend, our family was glued to the television, watching NBC’s coverage of the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
I was eight years old.
January 28, 1986. I watched in horror and a sick fascination as the Challenger exploded over and over and over again, as we tried to make sense of a senseless act. I watched because of the novelty of having a teacher on board. I don’t think it would have been televised otherwise.
I was home on maternity leave. My daughter was six days old.
October 14-16. The nation was glued to the developing story of Jessica McClure, an eighteen-month old girl who fell down a well. It took rescuers fifty-eight hours to pull her out alive.
I was six-months pregnant with my son.