At first it seems like an odd request. In this video, Alissa Parker asks people to remember her face and her husband's face. She prefers we do that rather than remember the beautiful face of the daughter they lost.
Emilie, who loved school, her parents and her two little sisters, was 6 when she died in the Sandy Hook tragedy. One year later, the nation again mourns for the 20 first-graders and six educators who died that terrible day.
In the video, Alissa explains her request. She wants parents to do what they can now to protect their own children, so they never feel the pain reflected in the Parkers' faces.
As I see it, Alissa and her husband Robbie are bestowing a priceless gift. They remind us that as long as our little ones are alive and well, there are things we can do to better protect them.
They're also letting us know, yes, there are meaningful ways to honor Newtown. Since the terrible tragedy there, so many of us have wished we could help, have longed to somehow make a difference.
We can, and our own children stand to benefit.
Right now, 28 states fail to meet minimum standards for protecting children from disaster. There is also much more to do in the 22 states -- including Connecticut -- that already meet these standards. (Save the Children annually tracks four minimum standards that require schools and child care centers to have multi-hazard emergency plans, evacuation and relocation plans, family-child reunification plans and plans for children with special needs).
How many of us have taken the time to check in with our kids' schools or day care to see what emergency plans they have and how they practice them? How many of us have taken the time to sit down and create our own family emergency plan?
Why not do this now? Downloading these basic checklists can get you started.
From Hurricane Sandy to Sandy Hook to the Oklahoma tornadoes, our nation has been tragically reminded just how vulnerable children can be when disaster strikes. In the video, Alissa says, "We want you to remember that there are things that you can do."
Please join me in honoring parents who lost a precious child by protecting the children in your own life. Get Ready. Get Safe.
WATCH: Sandy Hook Parents: Emergency Plans Matter
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