The horror erupted on Jan. 8, 2011, at 10:11 a.m. More than 30 gunshots. Six dead. Thirteen wounded. Countless lives shattered.
The recovery started later that day. It would take many shapes: The shrines of flowers, photos and candles that spread across the University Medical Center lawn. The inspiring words of a president. A new assistance center at the Community Food Bank. A rebuilt playground at Mesa Verde Elementary School. The stories of our heroes. A space mission that broke the bounds of gravity, carrying the image of our youngest victim, the wedding band of our wounded congresswoman and a mechanism to help us understand the mysteries of the universe.
Tucsonans found ways to come together to cry, to grieve, to hug, to heal. We came together in candlelit vigils and crowded auditoriums. We came together in churches and concert halls. We came together to show our strength, our compassion, our resilience.
We debated—and will continue to debate—questions raised by the shootings. Are our gun laws too lax? Are there enough resources for the mentally ill? Have our politics become too corrosive?
We will find new ways to come together this weekend. We will ring bells in remembrance. We will enjoy the outdoors as part of Beyond Tucson. We will gather at Centennial Hall to hear the stories of those we have lost. We will stand on the UA mall to bind our broken hearts.
And out of the darkness, may we find hope.