One year later, Newtown students reflect

Exactly one year ago, on Dec. 14 2012, a series of fired shots stole 26 lives. The tragedy had broader impacts too, setting in motion gestures of support, movements for gun control, and a statewide security grant. But on the anniversary of this tragedy, the most concretely impacted are still the families in Newtown. Inklings interviewed two Newtown High School juniors, Michael Ziluck and Kyle Deandrea, who reflected on the event and the aftermath one year later.

Now that one year has passed, do you look at the incident any differently? Is it still a raw shock, or have you had time to heal?

MZ: Now that one year has passed, it still feels like it happened only yesterday. I don’t think that any amount of time can possibly heal what we went through as a town. I remember that day as if it were last week, not last year

KD: Even after a year, I’m still in disbelief. The shock of it will honestly never go away. How my old elementary school, and the school my brother goes to, experienced such a horrible tragedy. Losing loved ones is something that will never heal, and although we have had time, the wounds it left us will never disappear.

Newtown has asked for privacy and is not holding any public remembrances on this day. How do you feel about the lack of concrete memorial services on the anniversary?

MZ: I think that not having a concrete memorial service is a good idea. Having one would only cause the families unnecessary stress as the press would end up showing up and harassing them, just like they did for weeks after what happened.

KD: I think it’s a good thing that there are no memorial services this year. It attracts the media and our town is tired of the attention, because it’s not for a good reason. We think about our angels every day and will always honor them, so we don’t necessarily need the added on heartache of another memorial.

Do you feel that the town has come together as a community in the year since the incident? How has the town grown?

MZ: I feel like the town has come together, as we have had to support each other through the trauma, from day one when people were still finding out everything that happened, to day to day life, where we had to make sure that everyone was dealing with their grief properly, to when the press harassed us. We had to get each other through a lot of rough times and that has brought everyone together as a more cohesive unit.

KD: Our town has grown so much since the tragedy. We have learned to treat everyone with endless amounts of kindness. We have done “26 acts of kindness” where random acts honor the victims. We have done a lot for the families and each other and most of all, loved everyone endlessly. We are Newtown and we choose love, which I believe everyone in this town shows every day.