Families in Parkland have taken the grief they’ve felt on their shoulders over the last five years and turned it into action.
A handful are part of a non-partisan group called Stand with Parkland, advocating for school safety. Together they’ve been able to get six school safety bills passed in the last five years.
However, Tuesday was a day to remember the lives of the victims.
Pictures of the Parkland victims set up for Tuesdays memorial. CREDIT: WINK News
Valentine’s Day 2018, a gunman’s violent rampage sent bullets flying through classrooms and hallways at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. 17 students and staff were killed.
WINK News spoke with Lori Alhadeff, the mother of one of the victims, about the tragic events five years ago.
“It’s very painful. I know it’s five years, but honestly, it feels like February 14 every day for me,” Alhadeff said.
Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. CREDIT: WINK News
Alyssa Alhadeff was killed at just 14 years old. Shot to death in her English classroom. Five years later, Alyssa’s mother, Lori, told WINK News that she found the strength to take action through pain, grief, and suffering.
“I’m president of a nonprofit organization, Make Our School Safe. We’re focused on passing ALYSSA’S law nationwide as the standard level of school safety protection. So teachers have their panic button and a life-threatening emergency situation that they can push. And it’s directly linked to law enforcement. So, EMS can treat the victims, or the police can come in and take down the threat,” Alhadeff said.
16 more victims to be remembered. Gina Montalto took her last breath at 14 years old. Her father, Tony Montalto, will never stop fighting for his daughter.
“We need inclusion we need people to come together, teachers, parents, administrators, mental health professionals, law enforcement, and, and are in our school folks, we all need to come together and the students, right, we all have to come together to communicate with one another to work to stop these terrible tragedies,” Montalto said.
15-year-old Luke Hoyer was the youngest of three siblings. He loved basketball and chicken nuggets, and his family deeply loved him. Five years later, tears still fill Luke’s father’s eyes when he thinks of his son.
“Just as sad as I did that day, it’s not anything that you ever come to grips with. I don’t think.. We just learned to live with it. So this place is where a lot of the original memories were,” Tom Hoyer said.
Tuesday night, a memorial was held in Parkland to remember all 17 victims. A speaker said their names, took a moment of silence, then asked everyone to look toward the evening’s sunset and remember the light.