Rachel Maddow once again has brought our attention to the inner-workings - to the heart and soul of a concern that could easily fall under the trampling ministrations of political jargon. In her MSNBC show today Rachel interviewed the parents of one of the 20 children who was killed a month ago in the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
While other reporters were covering the story of the Sandy Hook Promise commitment, Rachel was bringing us closer to the emotional moments shared with two parents of the six-year-old Ben Wheeler.
We all know the details of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. We had 24-hour news coverage over several days while various angles were investigated by reporters from every network. While the Huffington Post and other reports were following the group's presentation and asking questions for their press releases, Rachel, with her gentle approach and clear heart, brought out another aspect of this news story today.
While news coverage saturated the airways and blogs with reminders and titillating sound bites to rehash the December 14, 2012 tragedy, Rachel was sitting down in a small room with little furniture to buffer the echoes and speaking softly and comfortably with David and Francine Wheeler.
They shared with us how they had promised both their sons that they would always protect them. How Ben's surviving brother still reminds them of that promise. With warmth and gentle articulation, Francine told us that she has a memento of Ben on a chain around her neck, that she still hears him speak to her, reminding her of her promise.
Ben's father spoke with soft persuasion of continuing the commitment for keeping the lines of communication open - to discussing and encouraging common sense solutions beyond political policies. David sees the long-range of this promise and is committed to being held to it.
Francine shared with us how Ben has exceptional rhythm and perfect pitch - how her father had told her, "Ben is going to do great things." She paused - then added, "I just didn't know it was going to be now... not in his life."
Sandy Hook Promise is the commitment of families of the children and teachers who died that day, survivors and first responders and all the Newtown community members encouraging the country to see this as more than a community effort. Their position is to go beyond "a moment of silence" and our own personal prayers -- to keep the topic open and in discussion to create a shift in thinking for the whole country. Not just for the time it will take to foster legislation in states and in our nation, but for the awareness of the whole country that we are concerned for our children - our future leaders - that we must continue to care for and about them. We are invited to take the pledge with them.