Six of you. You’d lived before you died, yet your worlds shut too fast with the impact of those little metal bullets.
You had so far to go, so many more lives to impact. Because you knew how it felt to jump into someone’s universe and become part of their everything. You were part of so many people’s everythings, and you were proud of the joy it gave you to love so many people so much.
I’m going to be a teacher. I’m going to work in a school, too. I’m going to be in charge of so many people who have so far to grow, and I’m going to be one of those people who helps them flower. One of those people like you.
I’m scared to be a teacher. I’m scared of a lot of things. And I know my job will be hard, the hardest thing I’ll ever set out to do in this one lifetime. That’s probably why I want to do it so badly. Because the greatest fulfillment I’ll ever get out of life will be overcoming everything that could ever stop me from becoming what I know I’m meant to be. I am meant to help people live better. Many, many, many of us are, whether we know it yet or not. I know I’m not alone.
And yeah, I could be killed anywhere, at any time. I am in perpetual danger just like everyone else in the world. And unfortunately, like you, I could one day find myself at the dispatch of a gunwielder in my own classroom, with my own kids. My kids whom I want with every bit of determination that is within me to succeed and live well, who I cannot let die if I can do anything, anything at all to ensure they live.
None of you should have been confronted with this. None of you should have had to die! You didn’t ASK to be fallen heros! You shouldn’t have had to be fallen at all! None of us ever should.
You didn’t come to school on Dec 14, 2012 and expect to find yourself lunging at a shooter, hiding your students in closets, putting your unarmored human body between bullets and children. You didn’t expect that you’d do everything in your ability to save what was left of the human spirit. You didn’t expect that in consequence you’d be torn apart, that your blood would spill upon the floor until your body’s heart quit and your soul went up and on.
You became heroes anyway. You were so scared, and you did what had to be done, whether you knew it was the end or not. You are all so brave, and I can only hope that should the day come that me or my students or friends or family may lose their lives that I act as you did.
Live on, wherever you are. I do not know where you have gone, but I know that memories of you remain here, on this side of the universe. I never knew you alive, but you are all beautiful members of the human race, and this is the highest compliment I know how to give. I wish that you always be remembered not just for your courage and the nature of your deaths but for the wonderful people that you are, for your love and your laughter and whatever it is that makes you shine. You have always shined. You always will.
Rachel Davino. Dawn Hocksprung. Anne Marie Murphy.
Lauren Russeau. Mary Sherlach. Victoria Soto.