Tragedy in New­town, Conn., is our tragedy in New­town, Pa.

The Advance of Bucks County - - OPINION -

Few times be­fore has a tragedy so many miles away hit so close to home. I just keep think­ing about all those un­wrapped gifts, all those mem­o­ries that won’t be made this Christ­mas sea­son in New­town, Conn. Our hearts ache with sor­row for the friends, fam­i­lies and rel­a­tives of the vic­tims who have lost so much. , fiUsW OHaUnHd aEouW WhH shooWLng aW a NHwWown HOHPHnWaUy school from a news­feed that scrolled across our web­site. I couldn’t move. I was frozen - my heart sick­ened with grief and pain. “How could this hap­pen? How could this hap­pen??” I asked my­self over and over again.

As quickly as those thoughts and feel­ings swept over me in an emo­tional tsunami, they turned to sud­den re­lief as I re­al­ized it wasn’t “our” New­town they were talk­ing about.

I’m won­der­ing how many oth­ers in “our” New­town went through the same emo­tional swing, enough to stop any­one dead in their tracks, take a deep breath and seek com­po­sure.

That ini­tial moment, when I thought this tragedy had taken place in our com­mu­nity and then my sud­den re­lief when I re­al­ized it wasn’t here, will for­ever haunt my soul.

Why did I feel re­lief the sec­ond I heard that this tragedy had taken place in the “other” New­town?

Truth is, there is no re­lief, not from a tragedy like this that per­me­ates through us like the bit­ing cold of a stiff north­west wind, mak­ing us sit up and re­al­ize that it could just have eas­ily hap­pen here, in “our” New­town, to our prin­ci­pal, to our teach­ers, to our chil­dren.

Like Pres­i­dent Obama said, we’re all hold­ing our love ones just a lit­tle closer to­day than we did be­fore this tragedy un­folded.

No doubt that ini­tial feel­ing of shock that par­a­lyzed me - if only for a brief in­stant - is what the res­i­dents of New­town, Conn. must have felt as they too saw the news scroll across their smart phones and com­puter screens. Only for them, there is no in­stant re­lief, no so­lace – just pain, an­guish and unan­swered ques­tions that will re­main with them for the rest of their lives.

Un­less you’ve lost some­one close to you in tragic cir­cum­stances, it’s hard to grasp the deep sad­ness, the empti­ness they are feel­ing in their hearts to­day – and just weeks be­fore one of the joy­ous sea­sons of the year. There will be many sub­dued fam­ily gath­er­ings this year in New­town, Conn., and plenty of gifts un­der the tree that will re­main un­spo­ken for.

We weep for them in New­town, Conn., just as they would weep for us in New­town, Pa., if the tragedy had hap­pened here. Our prayers, our heart­felt sor­row are with them as they strug­gle through a sense­less tragedy.

In New­town, Pa., we grieve their loss just like it was our own.

ED­I­TOR’S NOTE: Thanks to ev­ery­one who was in­volved in or­ga­niz­ing the very mean­ing­ful gath­er­ing on Sun­day night. It was just what the com­mu­nity needed.

A mes­sage from Chief Ken Coluzzi

With the ar­rival of the hol­i­day sea­son, I would like to rec­og­nize all the ded­i­cated vol­un­teers and res­i­dents who serve us each day through our Neigh­bor­hood Watch Pro­gram. Each of you care for this com­mu­nity by work­ing vig­i­lantly to keep us all safe.

I am de­lighted to see how much our town watch pro­gram has grown over the years. I am also very grate­ful to have our res­i­dents’ in­put and sup­port to help make Lower 0aNH­fiHOd Town­shLS a gUHaW SOaFH Wo OLYH.

My grat­i­tude also goes out to the mem­bers of the LowHU 0aNH­fiHOd EPHUgHnFy 0anagHPHnW CoPPLWWHH. You are will­ing to mo­bi­lize at a moment’s no­tice to help us get through tough times. Thank you for help­ing us dur­ing the many storm-re­lated events over the years.

I wish you all peace and se­cu­rity in your lives and many years of hap­pi­ness ahead. Happy hol­i­days! Ken Coluzzi is the chief of po­lice in Lower Makefield

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