Our neighborhood of DeKalb-Sycamore and surrounding towns and cities experienced the shocking tragedy of a fatal shooting on our college campus of Northern Illinois University.
Six young people were killed on Valentine’s Day as a result of a crazed young man walking onto an academic stage and within seconds letting his rage burst forth from a rifle.
How do you get beyond that?
ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRUTH.
The shock of the incident reverberated through the community like a huge wave pounding upon our souls. We couldn’t catch our breaths. No! This cannot happen at our well-policed and excellent university campus.
Denial runs for a long time. Frightening distress doesn’t recede quickly or easily. Each person must endure the after time as he or she considers best. Talking, counseling, helping.
Immediately after the all-clear, students found other areas to put their grief: near a well-traveled crossroad, at an open speech area, by the student center, and other areas.
Each remaining person must mourn the trauma in actions and in words. When a young boy found his cat run over, he raced to his bedroom, hid in his closet, and sobbed. A community loss that made international news would take weeks, months, and maybe years.
The DeKalb area community held nightly vigils. People attended funerals. Memorial services were held at large numbers of locations. Memorial areas were dedicated with people’s remembrances. The university took a week to mourn and to regroup.
University president, Dr. John G. Peters, held a large community memorial service the day before classes resumed. Held at the university’s Convocation Center, state and national dignitaries attended with thousands of ordinary people. Dr. Peters’ last words-from the university’s school song-became the community’s motto.
Still, life moves because it does. Everyone must get up in the day, go to work or school, then return home, and go to bed. Then another day. You move forward by walking one step at a time. One day at a time. Then one week and onward. All the while, you probably are still in shock and mourning, but you’re moving forward.
We live in mass, yet individually. Nevertheless, we’re moving . . .
FORWARD, TOGETHER, FORWARD!