Speed Reads

One Decade Later

Survivors mark 10 years since Sandy Hook shooting by helping others

A decade after one of the worst school shootings in American history, survivors of that tragic day are reflecting on the gun violence that is still commonly seen in the United States. 

Wednesday marked 10 years since the Dec. 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults. The children that died were all between six and seven years old. 

Residents of Newtown spent the day attending vigils and paying their respects at a recently erected memorial to the victims. 

"I feel it's important that folks hold some time to reflect on those that have been lost through this preventable shooting epidemic," Mark Barden told Reuters"If everybody does a little bit we can really make a difference."

Barden's son Daniel was killed in the shooting. In the aftermath of his son's death, Barden, along with a number of other Newtown families, co-founded the Sandy Hook Promise, an organization dedicated to teaching people about the warning signs of mental illness and mass shootings. 

Others in Newtown have also worked to turn their pain into purpose. 

Jackie Hagerty was seven when she survived the gunman's attack. Now 17, she penned a letter to "future school shooting survivors" to try and offer them ways to cope. 

"The reason I'm writing this is because I believe that the aftermath of a tragedy is not just the few days that gain the public's attention," she wrote. "It's the years of mourning, grieving, and processing."

"I, myself, was afraid to show my emotions," she added. "I'm here to tell you NOT to do that ... You're allowed to have emotions. It's human, and going through something traumatic almost requires you to have emotions."