Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A Historic Day

April 20th means a lot of things to different people.  For me, April 20th is first and foremost my Mom's birthday.  It's a day I celebrate the birth of a woman who loves fiercely, is one of the strongest people I know, and who puts everyone else's needs before her own.  For others, 4/20 is a giggle of a reference to smoking marijuana.  But upon further investigation, the 20th of April also has a dark and deadly history.

I was only in 8th grade when the Columbine High School shooting happened back on April 20, 1999.  I remember my family was vacationing in Washington DC while we watched the news in complete horror that this could happen.  I was afraid and alarmed as I myself was getting ready to enter high school later that year.  I recall watching President Bill Clinton's motorcade pass by as we stood outside the White House.  At the time we didn't know where he was going, but we later saw that he went to a high school in Alexandria, Virginia to speak with the students there about what happened.

Text Edit by Me- Original Photo Source

It wasn't until a few years later that I learned April 20th was the day Adolf Hitler was born back in 1889.  There was a report about something on the news and speculation that it might be part of the reason April 20th was always such a deadly day.

I remember my Mom talking about how so many horrific events always seemed to happen on, or a few days before, her birthday.  April 15th of 2013- I watched in horror as the city I called home for 5 years experienced the Boston Marathon Bombing.  I had friends not far from the finish line where it happened.  April 16th of 2007- the Virginia Tech Shooting.  April 19th of 1995- the Oklahoma City bombing.  As I've grown older, a small part of me has always held my breath in the days leading up to April 20th... 

Today, I found myself holding my breath again.  Except today, I released that breath as an overwhelming sigh of relief.  Today, there was good news.  Today, there was justice.

Like much of the country, Eliot and I have been watching the trial to see justice for George Floyd.  I admit, I've only been able to watch it in small doses.  It's made me sick.  Although the video was all over social media last year, I never actually watched the video until the trial.  I couldn't even bring myself to.  I haven't been able to wrap my head around the fact that someone could do that to another human being.

I started my day watching a little bit of the news coverage before I once again became overwhelmed with fear that the jury would somehow come to a verdict of not guilty.  I quickly switched the channel to Hallmark and attempted to go about my day.  After all, it could still be a few more days before the verdict was finalized.  However, a few short hours later, I found myself on Facebook seeing that the verdict was going to be read.

Photo Source

I immediately switched the channel back.  Then, just like the rest of America, and the world, I sat with bated breath for court to resume.  I found myself glued to the couch with my eyes locked on the television in tears, praying that we'd see justice.  Surely, if they only deliberated for 10 hours, they saw the same thing the rest of us saw, right?

I was overcome with emotion while the judge read the verdicts.  Guilty on all three charges.  I felt a buzz of relief flow throughout my body.  I watched as people in the streets cheered, embraced and sobbed with relief.  I watched as they revoked bail and he was put into handcuffs and taken out of the courtroom on his way to jail.

Today we celebrate but tomorrow, we go back to work.  We can and we must be better than this.  We must hold ourselves and each other accountable for our actions.  We must push for true equality, liberty and justice for all.  We must rid hate and racism from our society.  We must all learn to be kind to each other.  

This April 20th is a day to celebrate justice.  After all of the hate that's been spewed in this country the past few years, today I feel a renewed sense of hope.  We still have a very long way to go... but today was a small step in the right direction.  °o°

No comments:

Post a Comment