My beautiful town hosts congressional baseball practice at a field in my favorite neighborhood, just across the river from D.C. This morning, a gunman showed up to that practice and wounded a congressman, congressional staff and capitol police.
Only a few miles from the nation’s capital, violent crime rarely happens here. We pride ourselves on our main street and our small-town feel.
Today things were scary.
Sirens filled the air and emergency vehicles flooded the streets. Schools were immediately placed on lock-in. For our family, that meant that kindergarten open house was cancelled. With a disappointed almost-five year old grabbing my hand, we turned around to head home, walking with another neighborhood family as we introduced ourselves. We discussed the excitement of the coming school year and the easy walk both kids had to get to the school.
Then my bespectacled boy looked up at me and asked me to explain why we couldn’t go in the school.
Choosing my words carefully, I explained that there was a shooting in our town today. That we think that everything is safe and that the bad guy had been caught, but schools are really careful with their students. That they lock their doors when scary stuff happens because they want to be sure that all the kids are safe.
Today my son lost some innocence and I lost some security.
Washington D.C. and its people seem far away from most, but these people are our people. The Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria is our favorite and we are frequently among the many families on the main street every night. As my friend Casey said this morning: “We love you Del Ray. May your love be bigger than your fear. Stay strong.”