Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Amish 'girls did not die in vain'

Lancaster Online.com has posted a public statement from the community of Nickel Mines, PA, where the Amish school shootings occurred. 

After thanking all of the service personnel, financial services and many others who have assisted them in the past week, they also thank the press corps:
We thank people from the news media who sensitively reported our tragedy to the world and in many cases wrote thoughtful commentary that helped the world grapple with values that are dear to us -- forgiveness, non-violence, mutual caring, simplicity and life in a community of faith. Above all, thank you for the acts of kindness you showed us even while you were doing your reporting work.

I was touched to read of the concern for the family of Charles Roberts IV, the neighbor who entered their schoolhouse with deadly weapons:
The Roberts family is also suffering. Please join us in showering care on them, praying for them and in assisting them with financial needs that they face.
It is impressive that a community, particularly one that is purposely 'not of this world,' would acknowledge and assist their non-Amish neighbors, even those related to the one who brought such a dark day to their children.

Also striking is the extent of financial burden that the Amish community now faces:
medical and counseling services, transportation for victims, transportation and extra living expenses for family members attending to the victims, rehabilitation, long-term disability care, modifications to homes or schools if needed to make facilities handicap accessible, and any other expenses resulting from the event.
According to the Anabaptist Fund, the agency collecting funds to support the Nickle Mines community, has raised, as of October 9, $77,123.06. Further information can be found, and donations madehere.

Particularly poignant are the comments that online visitors to the story left in response. 

One reader writes:
I have learned a valuable life lesson from watching and listening to the members of your community as you travel down the road on which you found yourselves on one week ago. Although I have had to watch from afar, rest assured, I have been paying attention.

The lesson I have learned is one that I have been struggling with since October 28, 2003. That was the day that my life, much like your's, changed forever. It was the day that my granddaughter was murdered.

You have shown me that it is possible to forgive. I now have hope that someday I may be able to do as you have done. That someday, I too, might find the strength in my faith to forgive the man that brutally murdered a 2 year old girl.

Bless all of you, and thank you. Thank you for setting an example for me, as well as all of us, to follow.

Another says:

If we could all just adopt a smidgeon of the faith and forgiveness demonstrated since last week, this world would be a far better place.

And the third comment:
I know many of the families who lost daughters, and it lightens their hearts greatly know that their girls did not die in vain.

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