Newtown Strong: Reflecting On The Tragedy 3 Years Later

by Alexis DiZenzo
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Today marks the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

It's three years later, and we still remember the 26 angels to this day.

The tragedy not only broke the hearts of Connecticut natives, but it broke the heart of the entire country.

Twenty elementary school children, along with six members of the school's staff (including the school principal) were killed after gunman, Adam Lanza, entered the building.

On December 14, 2012, the small town of Newtown, Connecticut, was completely torn apart.

A day that should have been spread with holiday cheer, love and kindness turned into a dark day that will never be forgotten.

You remember exactly where you were when the news about the shooting broke out.

I remember sitting in my high school's food and nutrition class, when someone pulled up the live news broadcast on his phone. The room went silent, and everyone began to listen in disbelief.

How could something like this happen in a town so small and close-knit -- especially in an elementary school?

As a Connecticut native, Newtown was only about 15 minutes away from where I was in that moment.

I think it hit a little bit harder knowing I was so close, and although I did not know anyone at that building at that time directly. I knew people directly that did know someone there in that moment.

The entire nation was in disbelief, the lives of innocent children who still had their entire lives ahead of them to be successful and do unbelievable things, no longer had the chance to do so.

Educators who were inspiring these children to take on the world and make something great of themselves, no longer had the chance to do what they loved every day.

After the tragedy occurred, countless efforts were made to develop stricter gun laws.

Promises were made and actions were established to make safety a top priority in our country, especially in schools.

Despite this, even three years later, gun laws are still a work in progress. There may not ever be an agreement amongst people on the restriction of guns.

There may not ever be an agreement amongst people on the restriction of guns.

We have a right to obtain a gun, but when that right is used in the wrong way, it can lead to violence and destruction.

Despite the controversy on gun laws, mental health checks and safety, after the tragedy, the community came together to make a difference through kindness.

Twenty-six Random Acts of Kindness was encouraged by the people of Newtown to spread love to one another and went viral.

In days following the acts of terror, the lives of the victims were embraced and remembered through acts of kindness.

From there surround towns, and then states across the country adapted their own form of "random acts of kindness," in honor of Sandy Hook.

After something so horrifying and terrible, a new movement of kindness and hope was created. With that, I think people truly began to change the way they view the world and those around them.

Three years later and the idea of random acts of kindness, is still an action that is practiced not only by the people of Newtown or Connecticut, but people across the nation.

I was waiting at the drive-through window for coffee a few months ago when I was told the car in front of me had paid for my coffee.

Even just holding the door for people and smiling at them can change their whole day.

You do not know what people are struggling with or what they have been through, and you may not ever know.

But flashing a smile, or doing something good for someone randomly will help spread the love and kindness this world lacks some days, especially on a day like today, three years ago.

We remember the lives of the 26 angels of Sandy Hook Elementary school, not only today, but every day.

Three years later, we still continue to embrace the lives of those lost through acts of kindness in hopes that one day the world will be a place filled with kindness and no violence or hate at all.