Saturday morning I woke up, made a cup of coffee and sat down on the computer waiting for my children to wake up. I started scrolling thru pictures on my Instagram account and came across the one to the left. In fact the more I scrolled thru, the more pictures I saw of the same sky banner being pulled by a small plane.
Victoria was a friend of mine, as far back as I can remember. We played together on basketball and softball leagues, we ate lunch together daily in high school, we walked cap and gown across the graduation stage together as the class of 2003 at Stratford High School.
But, most of the world knows Victoria Soto as a hero. A teacher who used herself to try and save her first grade students when a deranged gunman walked into a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school she worked at and opened fire. The only goal in his mind was to kill as many innocent teachers and children as he could.
While I still struggle to believe it, we continue to see that out of most tragedies does come some good. We have had the opportunity to see it time and time again. From the families of Sandy Hook to those impacted by the tornadoes in Oklahoma.
This weekend in my hometown of Stratford, Connecticut the Victoria Solo Memorial Playground was dedicated with a sea of green balloons released into the sky, along with a lone flamingo balloon — a favorite of Vicki’s.
Out of this tragedy we have seen the Where Angels Play charity form that’s dedicated to building playgrounds honoring each victim lost on that December day. Donations have exceeded the need for the families and people of Newtown. Other charities, like the 26 Random Acts of Kindness project, have also been formed to honor the memories of the Newtown shooting victims – so much amazing good has come from such a sad day for so many people, myself included.
Today, we are so quick to focus on all the bad in the world, or in our own personal lives. Watch the five o’clock news tonight; it will be a prime example of what we choose to focus on. Gone are the feel good stories, replaced by the shootings of the day, or the carjackinsg or even the hit and runs. But what would happen if we all took the time to only focus or dwell on the sea of good around us? In reality there is a lot of it. It just doesn’t make for good headlines. It doesn’t sell papers or pull in viewers.
We need the change Victoria Soto would want us to make. Be this change. Honor Victoria by living, laughing and loving like today may just be your last day on Earth. Just like she did.
Photo: Danielle’s Instagram Account