I usually try to keep private things out of this blog and only contribute technical content that I feel is relevant and unique. This time , however, I need to break with this premise. As some of you might know, I am a resident of Newtown, CT. The tragedy that has befallen us is something I am still grappling with comprehending, hearing the name of my town on TV and radio over and over is something I am just not getting used to – we are supposed to be the town nobody knows – “Newtown? Newton? Where is that?”
I have been wanting to write something about this tragedy since Friday evening, but frankly – I have been struggling with the words and have just not been able to express what I feel and what all of us in Newtown feel – it defies comprehension.
Then, in comes the email that I am attaching below: 2d Lt Kimberly West, USAF, a native Newtowner born and bread and my daughter’s former math tutor. She is a great gal and all of us who know her are all very proud of her service to our country.
Kimberly felt the the need along with her old friends from Newtown High School to do SOMETHING and wrote this heartfelt email to her Air Force “family”, asking them to reach out and help. She kindly gave me her permission to duplicate/copy/post this anywhere I feel it might help. Please read to the end!
Bats and Lions,
It is with a really heavy heart that I write this email. I’m sure many of you have been following the horrific events of this past Friday. What you may not know is that the small town dubbed “quiet and sleepy” by the news is my home. I grew up in Newtown, CT. A town, until Friday, no one had ever heard of. If you have been watching the news, you’ve met many of my friends and family, seen where I was lucky enough to grow up.
Sandy Hook Elementary was a place I didn’t know how to feel anything but safe. The only fear I had was that Jimmy Rorck would call me four-eyes again. Treadwell, the park the media camped out in and Lt Vance made his updates from, was where I played hours of field hockey and lacrosse. CNN was set up by a creek that is next to a coffee shop called Mocha. I had my heart broken there as an impressionable teen. The beautiful church where the vigil occurred Friday night is where I had my communion, confirmation, and most importantly married my best friend. My pastor, Msgr Bob Weiss is a family friend who was plastered all over the news. President Obama spoke on my high school stage – the same stage I was hypnotized on for a Class Council fundraiser.
What I’m trying to say is that Newtown is my home. It is where I grew up and learned what is was to love and be disappointed and the real meaning of friendship. A fellow classmate said “Newtown doesn’t belong to us anymore, it has been taken from us.” The incomprehensible actions of Adam Lanza, younger brother to my classmate – Ryan Lanza, did something so horrendous. Two of my neighbors will never be coming home. Young Jesse Lewis and mother of four, Anne Marie Murphy. Jesse grew up on the horse “farm” at the end of my street. Mrs. Murphy was a sweet woman who’s driveway was always way too long to walk on Halloween night.
My community is broken. I’ve been in constant contact with my parents and family this weekend. My mom tells me I wouldn’t even recognize the streets.
Newtown is a place where everyone knows everyone. As a teen you couldn’t get away with anything. My parents always said they had eyes everywhere – they weren’t kidding.
I really debated writing this email but have found that I feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness. You might have seen me Friday night at the Christmas party. My husband told me I needed to get out of the house and feel some happy. We have a great family here in the 422/59. It was nice to smile but hard at the same time. But it made me realize that with your help, I might be able to do something from across the country.
I have three requests:
1) Your prayers. Whether you believe in a higher being or not, please continue to pray for my town and community. We are broken and will be for quite some time.
2) Please be kind to others. As President Obama said, we have a responsibility that we aren’t fulfilling.
This hate and violence needs to end. Your kindness could be just what a person needs without you ever knowing.
3) Your financial help. I hate to ask during the holidays. This time is financially straining as is.
However, if all you can give is one dollar, that one dollar could make the world of difference. 26 families are burying their loved ones. 20 little angels are being buried far too young. These children’s parents probably haven’t even considered burying their parents, let alone their children. 6 women were taken away from families, many of them mothers. Their children still need to go to college and live their lives without their mom’s.
Classmates of mine set up a donation site. On this site you can order, for $2, a bracelet that says “Newtown Strong”. All profits go to the families.
If you don’t care for a bracelet and simply want to give, you can donate here as well. The website is http://www.giveforward.com/newtownstrongnewtownproud.
I apologize for such a long and heavy email on a Monday morning but thank you for taking the time to read.
V/R, KIMBERLY S. WEST, 2d Lt, USAF
Operations Analyst 59th TES/EAA
Nellis AFB, NV
What touched me the most is that active duty personnel, who already serve all of us with their lives, are now also happy to help us here in Newtown in any way they can. Lets face it – we ask allot of our service men and women – and they still are willing to give. Simply awesome.
So, if you also want to be “Newtown Strong“, please donate to either this charity above (I checked it out) or to any other one you feel comfortable giving to. Then you too can join us and say “We are Newtown” . . .
PS: Feel free to link and cross post, the more the merrier!