PARKLAND, FL — Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Stoneman Douglas tragedy. As we reflect on the past year and look towards the future, those of us fortunate enough to call Parkland home are awash in emotions. First and foremost, we continue to grieve as a community. Each significant milestone of the year reminds us more of who is missing than who is present. Parkland is not the same without our 17 loved ones.

As we gather at the high school, local parks and other areas around town to memorialize the day, a swirl of emotions envelop our community. We still grieve the loss of our family and friends. We are reminded of the darkness of the tragedy itself. We desire to make something positive from the loss, but we don't all agree on how to do it. It feels like a long road ahead of us. A long road toward healing. A long road toward recovery. And a long road toward change that won't allow tragedies like this to happen again in our nation. We are tired, but we are passionate and committed to make positive change in our world. 

The uniting force that most everyone can agree upon is that our world needs more love. Love toward our neighbors. Love towards the families enduring this tragedy first-hand. Love toward each other. As we spend time with family and friends on this Valentine's Day, let's choose to love a little extra this year. Let's give a little more intentionally, serve a little more intentionally, and care a little more intentionally than ever before. A little more love can add up to a lot.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.