“…His jaw was blown away. I just want people to know the ugliness of it so we don’t talk about it abstractly, like these little angels just went to heaven. No. They were butchered. They were brutalized. And that is what haunts me at night.” — Veronique Pozner, mother of Noah, a 6-year-old killed in the Dec. 16 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
In a blog post on Dartsociety.org, a Website where journalists who cover violence come together to report their thoughts, reporter Naomi Zeveloff of the Jewish Daily Forward wrote about her interview with the mother of the youngest victim in the school shooting. It’s a harsh reminder that we must never forget what happened there. Unfortunately, it’s looking like many already have.
Politicians on both sides of the debate have had a field day with the tragedy, using it to push their agendas, and to get Americans riled up to support their cause. Gun control has become the hot button issue, with rumblings of possible legislation on the horizon.
Regardless of where you stand on this issue, take a minute to stop and remember what caused it in the first place. Children were brutally murdered, and their killings must be something that is on our minds for the rest of our lives.
Nearly 3,000 people died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, not counting hundreds of others who are still dying today from the effects of rescue efforts that day. The motto that resulted from that tragedy was “Never forget.” Images of smoking towers still are passed around on the anniversary of that day every year, and celebrities and politicians publicly remind us all to keep that memory with us.
We hope the same will apply for these 20 children and six adults taken on Dec. 16. It may not be 3,000 people, but 20 kids can feel like 2,000. No parent should outlive their kids, but to lose them at such a young age in a place we all believed to be safe is horrifying.
So let the images haunt you, as they should. Those could have been your kids in there.
“He was shot 11 times; she told me that his jaw and his left hand were mostly gone,” Zeveloff wrote. Zeveloff wrote about how Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy visited Pozner in the funeral home, and how she took him to see Noah’s open casket. When asked why, Pozner said, “I needed it to have a face for him. If there is ever a piece of legislation that comes across his desk, I needed it to be real for him.”
Then Pozner, describing why she looked at her mutilated son in the casket, told Zeveloff what we all should be thinking:
“It is not up to me to say I am only going to look at you and deal with you when you are alive, that I am going to block out the reality of what you look like when you are dead. And as a little boy, you have to go in the ground. If I am going to shut my eyes to that I am not his mother. I had to bear it. I had to do it.”
We can never lose sight of what happened in Newton. We must never forget.