Valentine's day marked the 1-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting. Some of the survivors opened up about the ordeal.
Valentine's day is typically a happy day on the school calendar. Social committees work tirelessly to get the school body mobilized and celebrating life and love.
However, for the students and staff at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida, Valentine's day is a date on the calendar they'd rather passed without mention.
One year ago, 14 students lost their lives and the memory of that day still haunts the halls of the school and the homes of the families of the students who witnessed the tragedy.
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow Pollack, 18, was one of the victims, explained:
“The anniversary for me is really meaningless because every day for me is Feb. 14. I feel the same way every day about losing my daughter.”
For everyone associated with the school, the memory of Valentine's day 2018 has cast a shadow on every school gathering and tradition.
Neither a prom nor graduation can pass without being touched by the shadow of violent memories staff and students shared.
“I think it’s going to be years until we’re OK,” Eric Garner a teacher at Stoneman said. “I’m not sure when that will ever happen.”
For Sam Deitsch, the day has an added layer of meaning. Sam was celebrating her 15th birthday on the day that gunfire rang out.
She hid in the closet to stay safe during the ordeal. The connection between her birthday and the tragedy is something that she'll have to deal with.
“I feel like I’ll always think of it as the shooting,” Deitsch, who is now a sophomore, said. “That’s not going to change for the rest of my life.”
The Parkland tragedy is just one of an epidemic of school shootings to occur in America in the last two decades.
Ever since two shooters entered their school in Columbine High School in 1999 safety in schools has been in the spotlight.
Some survivors of the Parkland attack have spent the last year campaigning for safer schools and more effective gun control.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to know when America will be able to turn the page on this dark chapter in its history and do right by the students.
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