It's a great day for a parade.
Seriously? In Newtown? Celebrating what?
The Labor Day Parade in Newtown is – was – our claim to fame long before everyone knew our name.
It's Norman Rockwell-esque, small town celebrity complete with pontificating politicians, local docs driving antique tractors, creepy clowns, marching bands, karate kids, church goers, civil war reenactment dudes, little leaguers, veterans, shriners, and plenty of Newtown High School athletes hawking (pun intended) water bottles and football cards. Just like every year.
This year, there wasn't a bad seat in town. I don't know how they did it, but the press was kept at bay, and out-of-town tourists looking for something to see, saw a town marching on.
Bands played. The streets cheered. People danced. Candy was thrown, kids scrambled to fill their bags and grandmas complained how dangerous it is to throw candy into the streets. Porches overflowed with picnics and parties, hugs, tears, laughter, and a beautiful day unfolded right here on Main Street.
It was just like old times. Except not.
Lonelier. Stronger too, but sadder. Shaken, but surprisingly not shattered. Smiles were brighter, laughter a bit louder, because the love was so evident up and down the streets. Newtown Chooses Love. Love is Stronger. Sandy Hook Chooses Love.
The parade must go on, lead by our Newtown leaders marching as one with bipartisan Connecticut politicians: not jockeying for position, but instead, united in support. A Sandy Hook School float overflowing with kids holding signs in a multitude of languages thanking the world for the love. Newtown Action Alliance, growing in numbers and influence, devoted to limiting gun violence with commonsense gun legislation. Newtown Kindness, promoting a message from little Charlotte Bacon, who continues to inspire and encourage kids, parents, and schools to Act Kindly, Think Boldly.
The Avielle Foundation, founded by Avielle's mom and dad, two brain scientists who lost their only daughter 9 months ago, now surrounded by the Sandy Hook Promise team, creating a stadium size human wave on both sides of the street, as they made their way south of the flagpole, smiling and waving the entire way.
All the beautiful, beautiful healing, comforting, generous therapy dogs. Never underestimate the power of man's best friend.
Ben's Lighthouse, lighting the way for so many Newtown kids and sharing that light so no one is left in the shadows. So many doing so much.
I hope these powerful, devoted Newtown marchers especially felt the love of this amazing day, and hope too you will find a way to help us all carry on.
*Please commit to doing any action possible to make a positive change where you live, so our story doesn't become your story. Join a group in your community. Send an email. Be a friend. Find a cause. Share on Facebook. Hold a sign. Make a difference.