Blog courtesy of Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
No words can express the shock and horror that our nation witnessed one year ago tomorrow, in Newtown, Connecticut, when a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and took the lives of 20 young children and six staff members.
Although the people of Newtown experienced the very worst of humankind on that terrible day, they have responded to that senseless tragedy with remarkable resilience. From the determined law enforcement officers and other first responders who entered the school, confronted the unspeakable acts that took place there, and helped get students to safety; to the counselors, community leaders, and service providers who have rallied around those who lost friends and loved ones – the days, weeks, and months since the tragedy at Sandy Hook have been marked by healing and compassion.
I had the great honor of meeting with a few of the first responders, investigators, and others when I visited Newtown the week after this horrific shooting. On that day, which I will always regard as the most difficult of my professional life, I walked the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary School and saw the devastating crime scene. I spoke with the men and women who helped secure the building, worked to save lives, and comforted those in need. And I will never forget the courage displayed by every one of the people with whom I met.
Over the past year, their bravery has been matched only by the strength and resolve of the parents and other family members of those whose lives were cut short last December. As a father of three children, I can only imagine the pain and heartbreak that each of them must feel. My thoughts and prayers remain with them and with others who have lost young children, family members, or friends to similar tragedies. Our nation has been inspired by their grace in the aftermath of incomprehensible loss. And I will continue to carry their stories with me every day.
Today, I am honored to join the families of Sandy Hook in calling for all Americans to mark this solemn anniversary as an occasion for remembrance. This weekend, let us pause to think of those who were taken from us – far too suddenly, and far too soon. Let us lift up, and hold in our hearts, the memories of the 20 little angels and six brave adults we lost last December. Let us pledge that we will always stand with and support those they left behind. And let us join the people of Newtown in paying tribute to the victims of this heinous crime by engaging in acts of kindness for our fellow citizens – ensuring that the legacy of this hateful act will be forever defined by compassion, by solicitude, and by love.