Editor’s note: This column originally published May 24, 2017
I have never witnessed a terrorist attack — a bombing, mass shooting or stabbing, but I think it’s safe to say we have all have watched the recounts of these horrific incidents on our television screens or smart phones. I have, however, met several individuals who have been impacted by a terrorist attack in one way or another during my career as a reporter.
This past Monday there was yet another terrorist attack in the world and even though it wasn’t in the United States, it still hit close to home. It reminded us of the Boston marathon bombings and the shootings in Orlando and San Bernardino.
In my political science class in college I learned the definition of terrorism is, “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”
The bombing in Manchester left 22 young victims dead at an Ariana Grande concert, according to the New York Times. This terror attack reminded me much of the Orlando nightclub shootings in the way that it targeted a demographic of young people.
When I was a reporter for the The Henry Herald in McDonough, Georgia last year, several residents organized a memorial event in honor of the Orlando shooting victims which occurred in July 2016. The memorial drew in a number of residents who had ties to the Orlando community and even drew attendees from Orlando.
There were 49 torches that were lit during the memorial, which represented the 49 individuals who had died in the shooting. Covering this event really opened my eyes to how many families and friends are affected by these acts of violence. I interviewed the Orlando residents during the event, and even though they weren’t harmed directly, it was still saddening to them and “hit home.” One man I interviewed was a part of the LGBT community and had been to the same nightclub before.
The event drew in the town’s mayor and several officers from the local police department. An Orlando resident had written and performed a song and there was silence, a lot of silence. In the midst of the sadness, I still felt a sense of peace. I think there is something to be said about communities who come together during tragic times.
It makes me think about what will happen next, do we have to be afraid to go to events and gatherings where there are large crowds, to airports and movie theaters? It also makes me think about our country’s leadership and how will President Trump handle foreign affairs and similar tragedies that are bound to come. Will he stand for unity instead of hatred?
Contact Kayla Langmaid at firstname.lastname@example.org