Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to mark a decade since the horrific shooting that left 20 children and 6 adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

On Black Friday, 10 years ago, my son was murdered at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida because a man didn’t like the loud music he and his friends were playing in their car. 

He called them “gangbangers and thugs.” 

Within 3 ½ minutes he pulled out a gun from the glove compartment of his car, took a shooter’s stance, and fired 10 rounds at the car hitting Jordan three times and killing my only son.  

A month later, a man who should never had access to an assault weapon, murdered 20 children and 6 staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  

The love a parent has for their child is different. It is unique in that our love for everyone else has a beginning, but for them, our love has no end.  

When your child is born, it is hard to understand how you’re capable of feeling so much love. It is a love so precious and pure that it flows through your soul.   

And, as they grow your love grows with them. Each day you can’t imagine loving them more, and yet every day you are proven wrong. 

Oftentimes we can feel vulnerable with this love, and all the fear that comes with it. Being a parent is like that. If everything goes right, if we do everything we can for our children, the very worst can still happen. 

Principal Dawn Hochsprung and psychologist Mary Sherlach yelled to their colleagues, “Shooter! Stay Put!” when they investigated the first shots. They were the first killed as they alerted the others. 

Janitor Rick Thorne ran through the hallways alerting classrooms of the danger. He used his master key to lock many of the doors for them. The key was so worn from use it snapped in one of the doors. 

The first graders in Lauren Rousseau's classroom were not allowed to grow. Lauren had worked at Sandy Hook for a week. She had tried to hide them in the bathroom, she had fought to keep them safe. 15 of her students were killed. Fifteen first graders, murdered in a bathroom by a man with an assault rifle.  

One, a six-year-old girl, played dead among the bodies of her classmates. She was the only one to survive that room.  

Covered in blood, the first thing she said was “Mommy, I’m ok, but all my friends are dead.” 

The next room the killer entered was that of Victoria Soto, who did her best to conceal her students in a closet. Some were hiding under desks. As the gunman fired at them with his Bushmaster, he stopped to reload. Six-year-old Jesse Lewis shouted at his classmates to run for safety, and several did. Jesse was looking directly at the shooter when he was murdered.  

Anne Marie Murphy, a special education teacher, was found shielding six-year-old Dylan Hockley. The bullets took them both.  

Victoria’s sister, Jillian, was captured by photographers in what some call the defining photo of that horrific day. She is forever immortalized on the phone, sobbing, receiving that devastating phone call. The phone call that is a sucker punch to the stomach.  The phone call that brings you to your knees when your desperation will not let you stand, that leaves you gasping for air when the agony will not let you breathe.  

How do you go on living?  

How do you find joy in life again when it feels like a betrayal of the one you loved more than life itself.

A decade ago, my child was murdered.  

The very last day I saw my son Jordan he was wearing red sneakers. He had khaki-colored slacks on and a black backpack slung over his shoulder as he walked out the door. He said “I love you mom” before he got on the plane to Jacksonville, Florida.  Jordan talked about coming home for Thanksgiving. That still haunts me to this day.

In Newtown, parents watched their children walk out the front door. And, some never saw them again. 

We are left only with the memories of our loved ones and the lost dreams of what could have been.     

Parents may move forward. But, they never fully heal. They never fully recover.  

In honor of their legacy, it is imperative we continue to fight for life-saving policies such as Universal Background checks, safe storage, ghost gun regulation, assault weapons ban, and so much more. 

In the words of a well-known writer:

“To value life of others 

Is to acknowledge the sanctity of yours 

To feel for the ruin of others 

Is to respect the existence of yours 

To fight for the freedom of others 

Is to preserve the liberty of yours.”