Valentine’s Day 2023 marks five years since the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland killed 17 people and injured 17 others. Just one night before, a gunman killed three people and himself at Michigan State University.
Tweets are coming from some of the Parkland survivors who are now reliving their brutal memories of the 2018 shooting:
“Every single shooting could be one of the last,” said David Hogg.
Every single shooting could be one of the last. Instead we continue the endless debate that drives the inaction which brought us here. Until we start making our response to these shootings finding common ground and acting like we did after Parkland- this won’t end. https://t.co/IbNHEqA11g
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) February 14, 2023
“Do you understand how it feels?” asked Delany Tarr.
do you understand how it feels? the night before the anniversary, seeing it happen again? knowing their pain? knowing the screams and sobs? https://t.co/bU1MzMjTjJ
— Delaney Tarr (@delaneytarr) February 14, 2023
A Southwest Florida connection: WINK News reporter Tiffany Rizzo grew up in Parkland and was a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. Feb. 14 still carries a tragic weight for people still grieving the loss of so many young lives.
The memorial to 17 students killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Credit: WINK News
For the Parkland community, the day is about remembering the 17 Eagles whose lives were taken. While Hunter Pollack, brother of Parkland victim Meadow Pollack, is grateful that so many people take Feb. 14 to remember those killed, he says every day is a reminder for him.
“Every day, you live the pain of not having your sister in your family to be there for you, to watch me graduate this semester,” Pollack said. “Every day, I live in pain from this tragedy. And I don’t need an anniversary to remind me that she’s no longer here. But it’s nice that other people use this day to remember the 17 victims.”
A memorial sits in front of the school bearing all 17 students’ names. People have left flowers, decorated rocks and a sign that says “never forget.” Five years later, the building where the shooting occurred is still up on campus. Students and staff have to walk by the crime scene every day. For legal reasons, it can’t be knocked down just yet, and evidence within the building was used to sentence the shooter to life in prison.
How are the survivors and the victims’ families now?
An inspiring slogan on the fence surrounding Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Credit: WINK News
“I truly believe that we are all doing better,” said Eric Garner, a teacher at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. “We will never move on—this will always be a part of us—but I do think that we have to continue on, too.”
“It’s a community that’s forever torn, and hopefully, with all our efforts, we could rebuild it together, and it could get its old spirit back,” Hunter Pollack said. “But it’s a torn community, and it’ll never be the same.”
The entire school district is making Tuesday a day of service, and the campus will observe a moment of silence around 10 a.m.