And then when Dawn Hochsprung, and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino, Anne Marie Murphy -- when they showed up for work at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14th of last year, they expected a day like any other -- doing what was right for their kids; spent a chilly morning readying classrooms and welcoming young students -- they had no idea that evil was about to strike. And when it did, they could have taken shelter by themselves. They could have focused on their own safety, on their own wellbeing. But they didn’t. They gave their lives to protect the precious children in their care. They gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us.
And that's what we honor today -- the courageous heart, the selfless spirit, the inspiring actions of extraordinary Americans, extraordinary citizens.
When I think of Newtown, I think of the courage of those teachers, and the heroism and pain of the first responders on 12/14. And because of them and because of 20 first graders, I believe Newtown changed everything.
Even before the grieving is over (because that will take years), the question is what can we do so that others don't need to be awarded medals that their families never asked for and would trade in a heartbeat to get their loved ones back?
As it happens, we can do a lot. But we may need to do it one piece at a time.