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On the morning of Friday December 14th, Americans watched in horror and disbelief as reports of an unprecedented tragedy began unfolding on the Internet and live television - The senseless killing of 26 innocent people, 20 of them students between the ages of 6 and 7, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Nobody knows why 20-year old Adam Lanza did this terrible deed and given that he turned the gun on himself at the end of it all, we may never know. What we do know is that the tragedy could have been much worse were it not for some unsung heroes, both young and old. Some survived to tell the tale, others unfortunately, fell victim to the young man's rage.
Among the ones that perished was the school's Principal, Dawn Hochsprung and psychologist, Mary Sherlach - According to a therapist at Sandy Hook, the two were in a meeting with other staff members when they heard the gunshots. Instead of taking cover, the duo went to confront the situation and try stop the intruder - Both, lost their lives.
1st grade teacher Victoria Soto, Lauren Rousseau, a full-time substitute teacher and Special Ed teacher Anne Marie Murphy, all also died trying to protect their students.
Among the heroes that survived to tell the tale is fourth grade teacher Kaitlin Roig, who ushered her students into the class bathroom and barricaded the classroom door with a wheeled storage unit and Maryrose Kristopick, the music teacher who hid herself and 20 students inside a closet that she sealed off with heavy musical instruments.
There was the quick thinking teacher who pulled an eight year old student from the line of fire into her classroom and six-year old Aiden Licata who saved himself and some of his friends by encouraging them to run out of the door, just as Lanza burst into his class and killed his teacher, Victoria Soto.
And, the list goes on and on . . . . From the brave custodian that ran from class to class warning the teachers, to the yet-to-be-named hero that turned on the school's PA system so that all the teachers were immediately aware of what was going on in the front office, where it all began.
The innocent lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary will forever be etched on our minds, as will the selflessness of the adults and youngsters who tried to save them, often at their own peril. This holiday season as you enjoy your time with friends and family, observe a minute of silence to remember and honor the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School. May their souls rest in peace!
Resources: miamiherald.com, theatlanticwire.com,dailymail.co.uk, CNN.com,