One Year Later: Communities Pay Tribute to Lives Lost at MSD

(Photo by Christiana Lilly)

It’s been a year.

A whole year since the day our phones buzzed with news alerts, that a gunman was on campus at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a quiet community just 20 minutes away from us in Boca. It’s where our friends and families live, it’s a high school where our loved ones send their children.

As the afternoon gave way to the evening, we finally got a number: 17. Seventeen teachers and students were killed. We were struck by how young so many of them were—much of the shooting happened in the freshman building, and nine of those killed were just 14 and 15 years old. I think about how excited they must have been to be in high school.

Since then, there have been marches, rallies, school walkouts, benefit concerts, and battle cries from both sides of the aisle on how to handle gun laws. But today, one year later, the community is sullen. We remember how a year ago, we were making plans for Valentine’s Day, watching flowers be delivered into offices. Then, as the death toll rose throughout the day, nothing else seemed to matter. MSD’s campus became a living tribute, with people leaving notes, stuffed animals, photographs, flowers, banners, posters.

We promised we would never forget, so today, we say the names of the 17 students and teachers:

Alyssa Alhadeff, age 14
Scott Beigel, 35
Martin Duque, 14
Nicholas Dworet, 17
Aaron Feis, 37
Jaime Guttenberg, 14
Chris Hixon, 49
Luke Hoyer, 15
Cara Loughran, 14
Gina Montalto, 14
Joaquin Oliver, 17
Alaina Petty, 14
Meadow Pollack, 18
Helena Ramsay, 17
Alex Schachter, 14
Carmen Schentrup, 16
Peter Wang, 15

Throughout South Florida, students, professional athletes, police departments, nonprofits, and houses of worship are paying their respects. People are doing community service work, there was a moment of silence at 10:17 a.m.

Today, we’re all #MSDStrong.