Sandy Hook Elementary School Remembered

29 year-old Rachel D’Avino had her life ahead of her: she’s a behavioral therapist who was about to finish her doctorate and her boyfriend was supposed to propose to her on Christmas Eve. D’Avino’s life was just starting to unfold, but a deadly school shooting killed her and her bright tomorrow away.

Rachel D’Avino was one of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shoot out in Newtown, Connecticut by 20 year-old Adam Lanza. The massacre, which is dubbed as the second-deadliest school shooting in US history, claimed the lives of 26 people, including 20 first-graders and 6 adult staff members.

On December 14, 2012, lone gunman Lanza forced its way into Sandy Hook Elementary School at around 9:40 am wearing black military-style gear and started shooting using two handguns and a semi-automatic rifle. Before 10 o’clock, approximately 50-100 rounds had been fired and 26 were dead. The victims were students (eight boys and twelve girls), and six women school leaders. Lanza then gunned himself in the head as first responders arrived. Before the school shooting, the disturbed video games fan killed his 52 year-old mother, Nancy Lanza, by shooting her in the face and head at their home.

Tragic as it appears to be, stories of heroism and love from Sandy Hook’s school leaders emerged from the ashes. We will forever look up to the nobility of the teachers who put the students’ safety ahead of them and the undeserved death of the victim students who died innocently.

"Faces with names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre victims (Photo credit: http://static.globalgrind.com)"

Faces with names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre victims

Among those who died were School Principal Dawn Hochsprung, 27 year-old teacher Victoria Soto, 30 year-old teacher Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, and little angels ages six to seven years old including Jessica Rekos, Daniel Barden, Olivia Engel, Benjamin Wheeler, Noah Pozner and Grace Audrey McDonnell to name a few.

The promising lives each soul could have lived was stolen from them before they even knew it.

While some people celebrate the holiday season with a gleeful heart, singing to the tunes of Christmas songs at the top of their lungs, there are families who grieve over the untimely demise of their loved ones. Instead of Jingle Bells, the sound we hear are heart-wrenching weeps from parents whose children have gone too soon. Their Christmas won’t be so merry after all.

Such brutal tragedy was condemned not just by the victims’ families, but the whole American society, including President Barack Obama himself. It triggered debates about gun control, but the real issue here is how a soul has lost his sense of humanity. How someone ignored his conscience, went on a shooting frenzy and forgot the value of human life.

We cannot undo what has happened. The best we can do is continue living life with optimism and faith that everything is gonna be alright. The Sandy Hook massacre was alarming because the town where the school sat is peaceful, sleepy and idyllic. Not in a thousand years you’d think such violence would occur, targeting the helpless and defenseless.

Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims, to the bereaved families, and to the community of Newton, Connecticut – that in the midst of this trying time, they may find strength in one another and may find light in the darkness that briefly surrounded them.

"Sandy Hook Elementary School mourners (Photo credit: http://abcnews.go.com)"

Sandy Hook Elementary School mourners (Photo credit: http://abcnews.go.com)

Here in BloodBanker, we are one with the nation in grieving over the unnecessary lost of lives. The day of Sandy Hook shooting was somehow an awakening, not just for its residents, but for everybody watching, as to how fragile life is. In a blink of an eye, the ones we love can be taken away from us and there’s no chance to save them.

Parents, teachers, rescuers and even nearby residents of Sandy Hook Elementary School must have felt guilty for not being able to save a life even if they badly wanted to. Imagine the remorse of a school leader who could have saved a life or two from the Sandy Hook shooting but couldn’t cause it’s too late.

But there are instances in our lifetime where we can save lives without having to throw ourselves in front of danger. Blood donation is a worthy cause to champion, knowing a pint can already save 3 lives. We don’t need to wait till something like the Sandy Hook massacre to happen before we are convinced to make a bold step in saving lives.

We only have one life to live. We cannot choose how we die but we can choose how we live. And may we choose to spend it by helping others to go on living.

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