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Pamela Leidlein

In memory of my daughter

On July 4, 2012, my life changed drastically. I became a gun violence survivor – a title I never dreamed would be added to my resume. That was the day my 34-year-old beautiful and talented daughter was struck by a bullet as she and her fiancĂ© and his 6-year-old daughter sat innocently in a park in Lansing, Michigan, waiting for the beginning of a fireworks display. The bullet, it is believed, came from a mile away, after someone fired a gun into the air. Ten months later, her fiancĂ© died by suicide with a gun. His death devastated me again and left a child fatherless.

I no longer celebrate Independence Day or any other holiday that includes fireworks as part of the celebration. On the 4th of July I rent a secluded cottage to share with family and/or friends and remove myself from any reminder of that fateful night in 2012. The fireworks sound like gunfire, and my mind cannot separate the two sounds.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.