News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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December 20, 2012

MARK BENNETT: Remember the 20 children lost

TERRE HAUTE — Their names were listed on the screen at the front of the church on Sunday.

Our pastor asked us to choose one and pray for their family. I selected Noah Pozner, just by chance.

He was the youngest of 26 victims of a rampaging gunman Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., I later learned from news reports. Noah was 6 years old. His twin sister, Arielle, was in a different classroom at the school and survived. In a message from Noah’s uncle, Alexis Haller, given to The Associated Press at the boy’s funeral Monday, Haller said: “Noah loved his family dearly, especially his mom, his dad, his big sisters Danielle and Sophia, his big brother Michael, and his dear twin Arielle.

“He called Arielle his best friend, and she was — and always had been,” Noah’s uncle said.

A wonderful little kid.

As America begins the difficult but necessary soul searching on this horrid flaw in our culture, it would benefit us all to remember the 20 children and six adults who died in this atrocity, and their families. Remember them in your prayers, if that is your practice.

Remember their faces. Remember them as a son or daughter, brother or sister, nephew or niece, or, in the case of the lost adults, as a husband or wife, fiancee or friend. They are real people, infinitely more precious than the already-ongoing Facebook declarations about guns or political bumperstickers.

I and many parents could relate to the descriptions of Noah by his mom, Veronique Pozner, which the family also shared Monday with The Associated Press.

She called Noah her “little man,” just as I did my youngest son when he was growing up. “You adored your family with every fiber of your 6-year-old being,” she said of him; my daughter fits that description, too. “Most of all,” Noah’s mother wrote of him, “I will miss your visions of your future. You wanted to be a doctor, a soldier, a taco factory manager. It was your favorite food, and no doubt you wanted to ensure that the world kept producing tacos.” When my oldest son was about that age, he’d tell his mom and me he wanted to work for a moving company … or be a major-league baseball player or the superhero “The Flash.”

In children, we see hope. Noah’s family did, too.

“If Noah had not been taken from us, he would have become a great man,” his uncle wrote. “He would have been a wonderful husband and a loving father. He would have been the backbone of our family for years to come. His loss, and our loss, are deep indeed.”

The family understood that people around the nation and the globe feel loss, as well. Noah’s uncle acknowledged the sense of concern and interest of others in the grief this child’s loved ones — and those of the others whose lives ended in that small elementary school on a day when 6- and 7-year-olds should have been listening to stories, anxious for recess and curious about lunchtime.

His uncle had a request.

“All of us, including the family, the community, the country and the world, can honor Noah by loving each other and taking care of each other,” he wrote. “That’s what Noah would have wanted.”

Let’s remember that.

Mark Bennett can be reached at 812-231-4377 or mark.bennett@tribstar.com.

 

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