WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Saturday released the following statement on the seventh anniversary of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School:
“Seven years ago today, a little seven year old boy woke up earlier than he ever had before during his first grade year. Daniel Barden saw his older brother, his idol, waiting for the bus at the end of the driveway. He ran down the driveway, in his pajamas and flip flops, and gave his brother a big goodbye hug. His dad remembers it was so odd that Daniel was up so early. ‘The only time that ever happened,’ remembers his dad.
“Once back at home, Daniel’s father told him he could go back to sleep to catch another hour of sleep before his bus to school was due to leave. But Daniel didn’t want to go back to bed. He wanted to cuddle with his dad. And so that’s what they did.
“When his sister went to school, and his mother left for work, they were glad to find Daniel unexpectedly awake. He gave them big hugs goodbye. On the walk to the bus stop with his dad, Daniel didn’t want to play their normal game of tag. ‘Can we just hold hands today?’ he asked. And so that’s what they did.
“Daniel Barden didn’t come home on the bus that day. He was shot to death in his classroom along with nineteen other first graders. But what he did that morning–run down the driveway to say goodbye to his brother, hug his mother and sister, cuddle and hold hands with his dad, are perhaps the most important things he ever did in his life. Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that the only day in Daniel’s first grade year that he got up early enough to say goodbye to each of his family members was the last day of his life. Maybe that’s not an accident.
“If it isn’t, maybe it’s an intentional reminder from a higher power of the capacity that we all have, inside us, to do small things each and every day—kind words, easy compliments, small favors, hugs—that provide a gift to the recipient so much bigger than the effort required to do the deed. Daniel reminds us that for all the big, scary, seemingly insurmountable things that we worry and obsess over each day, there are so many small gestures that we can make, all totally within our control, that can change the world in unexpected ways.
“To Daniel’s family, those last moments were a gift. So too, of course, was Daniel’s entire life. As were the lives of the nineteen other children, and six educators who died that day. They were all miraculous and, on December 14 each year, the loss hurts more. It just does.
“I won’t rest until we change the laws of this nation to make sure our country doesn’t knowingly facilitate the mass murder of children. That is my charge. But I also know that Sandy Hook reminds us that the small acts of kindness that require no national political movement to generate, are often life changing too.”
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