The school massacre in Newtown Connecticut was one week ago today.
The stories are everywhere.
Horrific tales of terror, panic and death.
And the agony that followed.
But out of those stories have risen tales of heroism and bravery unequalled anywhere in history.
The principal and school psychologist who lost their lives as they rushed toward danger when the first shots were heard.
The teachers who hid children in closets and cupboards and bathrooms and then kept them absolutely quiet and safe as terror stalked past.
And those who used their last shield, themselves, in a desperate and futile bid to save the lives of the little children in their care.
They are true heroes.
In every sense of the word.
And I weep for them and their sacrifice.
It has gotten me thinking of the heroes in my life.
The men and women who have appeared, sometimes fleetingly, and had a profound and lasting influence.
My Mom, who taught me responsibility, caring for others and to always, always be kind.
My Dad, who taught me the value of integrity, hard work and a sense of humour.
My eldest brother who taught me generosity.
My next older brother, who taught me the joy of friendship.
My oldest sister, who showed me true patience.
My youngest sister, who is a constant example of focused energy and unfettered joy.
My youngest brother, who showed me that one must never quit. That by keeping on, great things are accomplished.
There were others.
Teachers who spent their entire lives . . . teaching.
Store owners who cared.
Neighbours who watched out for.
People who appeared only briefly and taught me wonderful, important things.
None of them have had to make the ultimate sacrifice in my behalf.
None of them will ever appear in a newspaper or on TV as a description of their heroism is proclaimed aloud.
But still they are heroes.
And they need recognition.
So to those whose actions are so justifiably blazoned across news headlines and TV spots.
And those whose contribution is not as noticeable or dramatic.
I am offering a prayer of gratitude today.
All of you.