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Never hurt or abuse a child and the nation remembers Newton Elementary School

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There is nothing more precious than a child. Today America remembers the little children, innocent lives, lost in the tragic shootings at Newton Elementary School in Connecticut. Today President Barack Obama honored the memory of the 26 innocent children and educators who were taken from us one year ago today.

There is never any excuse to hurt or abuse a child. The killing of children is always a senseless and horrible act. The Christmas midnight service at the National Cathedral is normally a very joyous affair. However, in 2012 it was the saddest Christmas service in the 22 years that the present writer and his family had attended the service. A memorial to the 26 children was displayed at the front of the church. It filled every worshipper with tears.

Thinking of all the mothers and fathers who were forced to spend Christmas 2012 in mourning made the service almost unbearable. Time heals all wounds but the murders in Newton were so shocking and appalling that the deaths of the children casts a shadow over everything and everyone who attended the 2012 Christmas eve service at the National Cathedral. The memory of that service will never depart.

Shortly after the shootings in Newton, the present writer was asked to hear the wish lists from children at the Y Worry Farm Christmas program. The children stood in line in the freezing cold to share their Christmas wishes. Many did not ask for presents for themselves. They asked for gifts for others. “Children are God’s gift to the world and a sign that the world should go on,” read the framed picture given to the writer when his child was born.

The families in Newton will never forget the tragic loss of their children. This Christmas, next Christmas, or any Christmas in the future will be a memorial to the innocent children who were taken from them. The world will go on and more children will be born; the loss at Newton will never be forgotten. Never hurt or abuse a child. Never forget the memory of the children of Newton Elementary School.

The present writer served as Dean of Students in the District of Columbia Public Schools from 2001-2009. Ruth K. Webb Elementary School was destroyed by fire in 2012. He continues to contribute to help children in the District of Columbia, when possible, as a substitute when teachers are ill or absent.

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