All you need is love.
That message, delivered by The Beatles in their hit song in 1967, reverberated throughout St. Andrew Catholic Community on Monday night as people of many faiths came to honor the lives lost exactly a year ago during the mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas.
They came to remember loved ones, friends, friends of friends and those they never knew. No one was completely unscathed or unaffected by the event that happened that day. Or by the outpouring of love and support that unfolded in the days after.
No longer were these nameless or faceless victims of some faraway crime. It was here, in our backyard. We met each of the 58 people who lost their lives through a touching video tribute. There they were, in happier times — smiling, laughing and holding onto loved ones.
We also learned about their families and how they were helped in the days after the shooting, as well as how the wounded gathered the resources they needed to return home and start the healing process, physically and spiritually.
Brian Scroggins of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster spoke about the Family Assistance Center and the work it did arranging flights home, bringing in a temporary department of motor vehicles to help people get driver’s licenses and providing an avenue to meet with attorneys.
It accepted donations to provide nourishment and essentials to those who needed them. And what couldn’t be used by the victims or their families were donated to local shelters.
One woman drove from San Diego to deliver 60 teddy bears, he said. A church brought in 500 sandwiches. Those who worked in Orlando’s resilience center to help victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting came or called.
And if they just needed someone to hold their hand and cry with them, he did that, too.
In all, 4,356 people were helped during a three-week period.
Even after years of training to handle emergencies and countless hours helping others, Scroggins said the shooting was unlike anything he had experienced. It left an indelible mark on his life.
He now makes time each day to make sure he does something good and relishes the time he has with his family.
“I hug my kids a bit tighter. I kiss my wife a bit longer,” he said.
Treasure those moments was his unspoken message. No one knows what tomorrow will bring.
The memorial ended with the church’s bells tolling 58 times, once for each of the victims. No one made a sound as the sonorous peals echoed through the sanctuary for 9 minutes and 11 seconds. Was it coincidence that the ringing lasted that long, reminding us of another day that will be forever etched into our memories? Maybe. Divine intervention? Perhaps.
Though there isn’t anything that can be done to bring them back, we can do our best to never forget them and work together to conquer the evil in our world that prompted one man to take such an action.
“Where do we go from here?” That was the question asked by the Rev. Sandy Johnson of Boulder City United Methodist Church.
There is no clear-cut answer, she said, but added we can feel hopeless or seek out hope and work together.
“Love one another to triumph over evil. … love is the antidote to evil.”
It seems John, Paul, George and Ringo had it right all those years ago. You can get by with a little help from your friends.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.