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Next Tuesday a major portion of the world will be celebrating a holiday based on peace, hope, love and promise. Typically as I travel the County and shop I hear talk of sales and profits. after all…Tis The Season, but in the past few days those aren’t the words out of shop keepers mouths. Words seem so inadequate to express the sadness we all feel in the wake of the horrific events in Newtown Connecticut, as an entire nation struggles to find an appropriate response to prevent such a travesty from ever happening again, if indeed it is possible. For some, this is but the latest in a string of tragedies – after all many of our neighbors are still cleaning up from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy which struck 6 weeks ago.
Even though Sandy was responsible for over 53 deaths in New York alone, businesses and residents alike exhibited an admirable spirit in working together to repair the damage and provide necessities until order was restored to affected communities. After Newtown, the mood is considerably more somber. I think the general feeling for all of us is helplessness. We cannot collect clothes and medical supplies or send cleaning crews with food to help this time. We are left only with sadness and confusion. One has only to ponder the vision that Connecticut governor Dan Molloy must have had walking into that firehouse to try and comfort the families of 20 murdered children to understand that this was no ordinary crisis. While Sandy destroyed so many miles of property the human cost almost seemed like collateral damage, in Newtown it was very clear what the main target was – 20 precious, harmless, helpless children. Even as a parent I cannot fully imagine the horror that was bestowed upon these innocents as well as their parents. I envision it as far as my mind will let me, and then recoil in horror. Thankfully my babies are still here with me, but to 20 Connecticut families, their holiday gift is one of immeasurable emptiness and despair.
Please everyone, hug your children a little tighter, and for those who celebrate, be thankful you will see their smiles on Christmas morning.
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce, Business Strategist/Associate Broker Keller Williams NY Realty