Every day, we wake up and go about our lives. We rub the sleep out of our eyes, brush our hair and get ready to begin our days as we do every morning. Sometimes, it feels like we're constantly moving. We're always busy thinking of what we have to do next or what we have going on later this week. We get so into the habit of this routine that is our lives. On February 14th, 2018, that movement that we all get so used to, just stopped. People's lives were forever changed that day. Innocent people. In Parkland Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School became the scene of the worst mass shooting at a high school in history.
No, I was not a student at MSD. I attended the rival high school just a few blocks down the road. I had been to the school countless times for football games, student government meetings, and cheerleading practices. Stoneman Douglas was always known as an exceptional high school, one who excelled across the map. I had faith in knowing that my cousin would enjoy her 4 years there and would collect memories that would last her a lifetime. Little did I know at the time, that one day, this travesty would occur. One individual could destroy all of it in less than an hour.
I made everlasting friendships with people who attended this school. People who I still talk to this day. Just hearing the crack in their voices as they talked about it or seeing the tears in their eyes, left me absolutely distraught. It was chilling listening to my 16-year-old cousin describe her experience that day with the fear showing in her eyes. These people, this place, did not deserve any of this.
I usually don't like to write about these types of things. Things that I find difficult to put into words. However, the way that this community has reacted to something as awful as this, has inspired me to share what I have observed. If I could describe the students, faculty, and staff of Stoneman Douglas in one word, it would simply be brave. So incredibly brave. These kids have challenged officials and have spoken up to make a difference. I have been scrolling through Twitter and changing the channels on my TV to see these kids voicing their opinions and concerns.
They cannot change what happened to them, but they are going to be the ones that change what will happen next.
The students of MSD, the people of Parkland, they are going to be the ones we read about in history books one day. They are the future, our future. I feel proud to have grown up somewhere that has developed such a sense of unity in the worst of times. These people will not have passed in vain. This community will live for them and from what I have witnessed, they will not stop until there is a change. Their courage is admirable and will continue to be recognized as they continue this fight.
17 beautiful angels were lost that day. For those 17, we will make sure this never happens...#NeverAgain