December 14, 2013
Today is a year since Sandy Hook. Friday, December 14, 2012, my husband and I were at the Christkindlmarket located in Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. The open air old-world German market is a holiday tradition for us. We feast on bratwurst and potato pancakes and drink hot mulled wine and hot chocolate while navigating crowds of tourists and office workers on break. The atmosphere is festive. An enormous Christmas tree towers above colorful booths where mostly German vendors sell toys and holiday ornaments. Everywhere are delicious aromas of food and roasted candied nuts. There is a menorah, a nativity scene, and a Santa house. Entertainment includes brass bands, dance troops, and Christmas choirs. Music fills the air—along with the sound of children’s voices and laughter.
On Dearborn Street, directly across the street from Daley Plaza, a jumbo television screen is mounted on the side of a building. Last year at this time, breaking news of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut was playing out on the screen. The story unfolded slowly and there was a continuous video-loop of terrified parents arriving at the scene and crying children being led from the school.