September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  Read and share stories to honor survivors whose loved ones died by gun suicide.

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Ivy Schamis

Valentine’s Day should be a day of love and laughter, and that is exactly what it was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018. Until almost dismissal time, that is, when a former student got onto campus with an AR-15 and ambushed the 1200 building, where I was teaching a History of the Holocaust class.

It would be six minutes of sheer terror as he blasted his way into our hallways and into our classroom. As we heard those first shots in the hallway, we all ran for cover in room 1214, where there was no place to hide. Within seconds, shots were flying through the elongated glass window in the door of our classroom, randomly hitting anything that got in the way.

Sweet Helena, who traveled with me on a trip to Europe over a past spring break — who believed hate could one day be eradicated — was brutally murdered. And, Nick, our amazing athlete, who earned a scholarship to swim at the University of Indianapolis the following fall, was also murdered. They are with us every single day and will never be forgotten.

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