‘Forever in Our Hearts’: Sandy Hook victims honoured as surviving peers graduate - Hindustan Times
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‘Forever in Our Hearts’: Sandy Hook victims honoured as surviving peers graduate

BySumanti Sen
Jun 13, 2024 09:13 AM IST

The 20 murdered students were remembered at the graduation ceremony, with their names being read allowed in an emotional tribute.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting survivors graduated from the Connecticut school on Wednesday, June 12. This comes 12 years after 20 of their peers were murdered in a mass shooting at the school, carried out by Adam Lanza in December 2012.

People are comforted near Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut (AP Photo/Hearst Connecticut Media, Alex von Kleydorff via AP, File)(AP)
People are comforted near Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut (AP Photo/Hearst Connecticut Media, Alex von Kleydorff via AP, File)(AP)

The murdered students were remembered at the ceremony, with their names being read allowed in an emotional tribute. The tribute said that they too deserved to receive their diplomas on stage.

“We remember your 20 classmates who were tragically lost on Dec. 14, 2012, who will not walk across the stage tonight,” Principal Kimberly Longobucco said, according to the News Times. “We remember them for their bravery, their kindness and their spirit. Let us strive to honor them today and every day.”

Longobucco read out the names of all the 20 students, followed by the moment of silence with attendees bowing their heads. Many of the surviving students pinned green ribbons, in which the words ‘Forever in Our Hearts’ was written, on their gowns.

‘There’s no way to go about it without remembering them’

“To graduate and miss 20 kids out of your class, there’s no way to go about it without remembering them,” 17-year-old Sandy Hook survivor Lilly Wasilnak, who graduated, told People.

Survivor and graduating student Matt Holden told the Hartford Courant, “You can always see the moments when someone’s crying at the memorial or something like that, but every single day there are a thousand moments that you don’t even think about, where they should be here. The empty seat at the lunch table, or the kid you don’t see in the halls, that’s what really defines it.”

“Some people who didn’t even meet these kids, who went to another school in town, are affected by this. Not because they knew them, but because they should have,” he added. “Because we all should have gotten to know them better than we did.”

“They should still be here and that’s the greatest tragedy of all,” Holden added.

‘This is a hard month’

On the graduating day, the slain students’ parents attended events advocating for resources to prevent shootings in the future. “This is a hard month because there should be twenty more kids graduating,” said Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was murdered by Lanza. “Dylan should be graduating. And [Principal] Dawn [Hochsprung] and the others should all be here watching them graduate.”

“This is the generation that has grown up knowing nothing but school shootings,” Hockley added “This is the generation that will not let that be the future for their children.”

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Saturday, July 13, 2024
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