Florida school shooting victim Cara Marie Loughran remembered one year on.
Cara Marie Loughran would have been 15 last year, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, but instead, her family held her funeral service.
Instead of a birthday party and distinct from the funeral, a celebration of her life took place and what a beautiful young life it was. Cara, of course, means friend in Irish and she was certainly that to so many.
Cara’s father Damian, like so many Irishmen, had left his hometown of Toomebridge in County Antrim about 20 years ago to live his American dream, settling in Florida where he met Denise and they had two kids, Liam and Cara.
Cara was a freshman at the high school, a very talented Irish dancer with a wonderful life ahead when suddenly the unspeakable happened.
At 2:20 pm on Wednesday, February 15, 2018, a deranged killer entered the freshman building at Parkland and began shooting. He had a semi-automatic weapon, one of ten guns he had bought under Florida’s insane gun laws.
The news of the attack became the Loughran family's worst nightmare. They learned their two children were in the school that was under siege from a madman.
Denise and Damien rushed to the school and after an agonizing wait located Liam, However, Cara had not shown up at the nearby hotel where parents and children had been brought to reunite.
Denise clung on to her hope her daughter just had not been able to text or phone. “Her phone must be in her backpack, and they made them drop their backpacks when they ran out,” Loughran told The Washington Post before the dreadful news hit.
“This has just been chaos. I couldn’t get near the school. My husband took a bike to try to get there, and they ended up sending him to the hotel where they said they were taking the kids.”
“But she’s not there.”
Update (2/16/18): A GoFundMe page has been created for Cara’s family. Here is the link-...Posted by Tara Bazinsky on Dé Céadaoin, 14 Feabhra 2018
She would never be there. It dawned on them finally that Cara was not coming home.
It was her aunt, Lindsay, who broke the dreadful news on Facebook
"We are absolutely gutted. Cara was 14 years old. She was an excellent student, she loved the beach and she loved our girls."
Later she posted a call to action.”While your thoughts are appreciated please DO SOMETHING,” she stated, a call repeated by many of the survivors.
Drake School of Irish Dance in South Florida, where Cara performed, said she was "a beautiful soul and always had a smile on her face."
"We are heartbroken as we send our love and support to her family during this horrible time," they said in one statement.
On Tuesday night our sweet Cara was learning a performance routine in class. On Wednesday, Cara went to school but didn’...Posted by Drake Irish Dance South Florida on Dé Luain, 19 Feabhra 2018
Back in Toomebridge, an entire village was in shock. Damien’s parent’s Paddy and Ellie, Cara’s grandparents, still reside there.
The elderly couple's parish priest, Fr Patrick McWilliams told the Irish News newspaper they are regular Mass-goers at St Oliver Plunkett Church.
Fr McWilliams described the couple as “very private”.
“They are just broken-hearted,” he said. “The wee family was coming home for the summer, as they do regularly, but that's not going to happen now.”
No, it won’t and a young girl was cut down just as she was reaching the prime of her life.
We have a president who could not even summon the grace to find the right words, instead blaming the FBI and their focus on Russia for the deaths.
Thank goodness the American people are better than the egomaniac they elected. Let Parkland be the beginning of the fightback against crazy gun laws. Cara Loughran would have wished it for all the other kids in America. This just cannot go on.
What can we do to prevent tragedies such as this in the future? Let us know your opinions in the comments section below.
*Originally published in Feb 2018.