On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and opened fire on the students and faculty in one of the worst mass shootings to ever occur in this country.
In the aftermath, the dead numbered 20 children, six adults, and Lanza, who turned the gun on himself after his spree had ended.
The country was struck by this horrific act of violence, the pain and trauma multiplied by the senseless loss of children who were just beginning their journey of life. The day it happened we stood frozen watching the TV screen as more information came in about the poor boys and girls who would never come home from school that day.
It was impossible to know the heart-wrenching pain that their parents were going through at the time, and it is something that I'm sure no one is capable of truly getting over.
Yet somehow, life must go on. It would be perfectly understandable for many family members and friends to give up and hide themselves away from the world. But instead, the community has done all it can to connect and provide support to each other in order to continue living without their little ones.
"You have two choices," said Rebecca Kowalski, mother to 7-year-old Chase, who was killed in the attack. "I could be in the bottom of a bottle; I could not get out of my bed. Or, I could do what's making us heal a little bit every day."
In the months that followed the tragedy, the families of the twenty children killed in the shooting reached out to one another and shared stories about their sons and daughters on a website dedicated to preserving the memory of these innocent souls.
Their stories document the quirks and interests of these kids who would never grow up, but would remain in the hearts of their loved ones forever.
"She liked to snuggle on the couch and watch movies with us. Her favorites were The Chipmunks, Lemonade Mouth, and all of the Barbie movies," reads the memorial to Josephine Gay, who had just turned six-years-old a few days before the gunman robbed her of her life.
After the shooting, a variety of support programs were opened up to the community, but it didn't stop there. The families decided that the best way to remember the little angels they had lost was to keep the parts of them alive that they could.
A series of charities and campaigns were started in memorial to these kids, and they have gone on to change the lives of children everywhere.