The Wait Is Over
- 14 Posts
- Age 16
I remember the sharp static on the PA as the lady came on the school announcements. "We are having a lockout. This is not a drill." I remember the shivers running down our spines as we sat huddled on the 'magic carpet.' I remember my mind racing in a million directions as to what could be going on. It was never not a drill. We had no idea what was going on, I remember a few children even cried. I remember our teacher scrolling through her phone, looking for any news updates. Her eyes widened in disbelief as she saw the alert. We questioned her, prodded her, but she wouldn't divulge a single detail. I suppose the harsh realities of our world aren't to be heard by the ears of 4th graders. But we all found out when we arrived home. When our parents hugged us a little tighter, our loved ones loved a little more. I was too small to fully comprehend what actually happened.
Too full of naiveté to consider the worst.
That was December 14th, 2012. That was the day that 26 innocent lives were taken at a place meant to foster education and togetherness. That was the day of the Sandy Hook school shooting. That was the day that something changed in America. For as the caskets of 20 first graders were being lowered into the ground, the cogs in the American machine started to turn. That was a time when I couldn't grasp what a gun was. I didn't understand the power of a bullet. And more than anything, I didn't understand the imprint that event would leave in America's history.
Five years. More than five years have gone by since that day. According to the New York Times, 438 people have been shot in 239 school shootings since that day. 138 students have been killed in school since that day. The nation has been waiting and waiting for the government to take action. And now?
Seventeen more innocent lives stolen by a bullet. Seventeen futures, seventeen stories cut short by the pull of a trigger. Parkland has faced the same sorrow and anguish that Newtown, Connecticut faced 5 years prior.
The evening of February 14th, 2018, still in shock, I sat and read about the lives of the 17 victims. Their hobbies, their, pets, their prospects, their dreams. And I wept. I wept for lives that will go unlived. I wept for dreams that will go unfulfilled. I wept for parents who never got to see their child grow up. I wept for the childhoods lost. Robbed. I wept for what has become of America. Because when I first heard the news of Parkland shooting, my first thought was, "again?"
How can a country call itself strong if violence has become the norm?
How can a country call itself proud as it lowers caskets of kids into the ground?
How can a country call itself safe if its own students don't feel protected in school?
We will never be able to get those 17 lives back. We will never be able to bring back those who we've lost. But we can ensure that their deaths were not in vain. Something was different after Parkland. It was not just pain in the eyes of the survivors. It was anger, passion, fervor. Because we've had to read the same news stories too many times. We've had to mourn too many times. We've had to watch people die too many times. And we have decided that enough is enough.
On the day I write this, millions around the globe are marching in the streets. Marching for liberty. Marching for rights. Marching for our lives. Today I see my social media feeds flooded with my peers taking a stand, holding their signs high, and protesting as loud as they can. I see my teachers writing letters to governments and marching along with their students. I feel hope, and along with millions of others, I can finally see that long awaited change somewhere on the horizon. And its coming fast.
The time has come for our generation to stop waiting for change to come knocking at our door. We are the future of our planet, and we must be catalysts of the change we wish to see. We have to stop looking to big name politicians and figures to make a difference, and start looking to ourselves. We have the man power. We have the passion. We have not just this nation but the entire globe behind us.
We fight for the rights of a student. We fight for the rights of a child. We fight for the rights of a generation. And we are not taking no for an answer.