Sandy Hook 10 Years Later: Reflections on One of the Worst School Shootings in History & the Sandy Hook Promise by Ann Marie Patitucci

Sandy Hook 10 Years Later: Reflections on One of the Worst School Shootings in History & the Sandy Hook Promise

Ten years after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School – one of the worst in U.S. history – the Newtown, Connecticut, community is spending the day “attending vigils, paying respects at a new memorial and reflecting in private with loved ones.” The new memorial opened to the public in November 2022. It is set on five acres and borders the school grounds where the massacre occurred a decade ago; the central piece is a water feature with the names of the 26 victims, 20 children and 6 educators, engraved on granite capstones.

In the years since that devastating day, Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed, has honored Daniel and channeled his grief into advocacy by co-founding an organization called Sandy Hook Promise, “a nonprofit that works “to protect more children from school shootings, violence and other harmful acts.” The organization’s mission is to educate students and teachers alike about warning signs that may be used to identify “would-be mass shooters.” Millions of students (and others) have attended one of the programs offered by the group. Moreover, a minimum of 11 school shooting plans have been thwarted because of the Sandy Hook Promise training.

Earlier today Barden asked people around the country to not only remember all the victims of gun violence but also to consider what they can do to address the problem. He added that he feels “it's important that folks hold some time to reflect on those that have been lost through this preventable shooting epidemic ... If everybody does a little bit, we can really make a difference."

I’ve been reflecting about the Sandy Hook massacre today as well. The shooting at Columbine High School occurred during my first year as a high school teacher; it had a deep impact on me (and countless others, of course) and I’ll never forget that day or the students who were killed. The Sandy Hook Elementary shooting occurred when I was a parent; my older son was 6 at the time. It impacted me differently than the Columbine shooting did because my perspective and life experience had changed since I was a 20-something high school teacher. I was now a parent, in particular a parent with a child the same age as the children who were murdered in their school that day.

As I reflect on the horror of that mid-December day, I can’t help but think that those sweet, innocent children would – should – be my son Trey’s age today, 16 and 17 year olds, thinking about their crushes and their futures, getting their licenses, arguing with their parents because as teenagers they surely know everything already. And then I think about their parents; I can’t stop thinking about their parents and siblings and grandparents and classmates...

I’ll never forget the moment I heard the news about a shooting at an elementary school. An elementary school. It didn’t seem possible ... until it became clear that is was indeed possible and had in fact happened. Trey was still at school at that time of day. How badly I wanted to see him and hug him, how I cried for the parents who wouldn’t get to hug their kids. I thought about the teachers at Sandy Hook that day, some who sacrificed their lives for their students. I’ll never forget. We must never forget. May we do all we can to prevent these tragedies from continuing. We owe these sweet babies that much.

If you’d like to sign the Sandy Hook remembrance card or make the Sandy Hook Promise to do “all [you] can to protect children from gun violence by encouraging and supporting solutions that create safer, healthier homes, schools and communities,” you may do so at

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We must never forget. Thank you for this post to help us remember and do something to help.
What a god awful tragedy and so many more since then. Let’s stop the madness, friends.

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