But aren't we all from some small town, even those in cities where streets and neighborhoods and buildings are the communities in which we live our lives. Countless times I've sobbed to hear of lives lost to suicide bombers, to natural calamities, to inexpressible tragedies. Tonight I spoke with a man from Lebanon who knows that in the morning, his parents will newly worry for his safety because he lives in such a dangerous place, America. We all live in small towns, wherever we live. We all mourn, wherever we live.
No words explain this madness. "What has happened to our little Mayberry?" my friend Marie writes. My only answer is quiet -- and the same sob when this happens on the other side of the world, when what has happened here, now, in my own small town.
To all the families, to the Kirkwood police force, to the people who witnessed the killings, to the city employees, to the people who gather for coffee across the street, to the teachers who will listen to students tomorrow, to the pastors who will attempt to console, to all the people who call this small town 'home', we mourn with you, we mourn together. We are you, we are your small town.
Hug your families, all.
Finding the Words video from KSDK
Mediation between Cookie Thornton & Kirkwood officials -
by Frank McCallie, Kirkwood High principal for 22 years
A Terrible Night in the Queen of the Suburbs
Sometimes the Real World Intrudes
eye witness from across the street
Feb 8th 8:15 am update -- FINDING WORDS
From Marie, again "... Last night, as we watched the horror unfold on television, my confident, increasingly independent 16 year old daughter curled up next to me on the couch and put her head in my lap. How do you explain something to your children when you have no concept of it yourself? I know I’m the parent and am supposed to be strong and comforting to my children, but I’m afraid I am failing. Truth is, all I can think about right now is how I wish I had a lap to curl up into so someone would stroke my hair and tell me it’s going to be okay. Deep down I know we’re going to come together as a community and be whole again, but right now I’m just “sad beyond words” as others have so accurately put it."
From Randy, a local fire fighter, "As an emergency service worker, my heart goes out to you and the Kirkwood community. This kind of thing could happen anywhere at any time. It's the kind of thing I get called to on the job. I am trained to handle horrible or dangerous or tragic situations very methodically and with a cool, almost machine driven head. People who often see the news don't realize the impact an incident like this has on the community and on the emergency workers on the scene. They don't get emotional while handling the incident, but later, they have to each deal with it in their own way. Much like the residents of the community in this case. ... This kind of thing could happen in any of our little 'burbs' around this area. All we can do is our part... both in tangible ways in getting involved, and in our own personal ways by spiritually holding our highest thoughts for our community and its leaders."
From Linda, "... It has to be difficult for all of Kirkwood, and it impacts all of St. Louis. How very sad. Kirkwood is 'community' ... I hope it continues to have sound minds prevail. It will also take a lot of love and reaching out to neighbors to help everyone deal with this tragedy."