12/31/2012 12:42 pm ET Updated Mar 02, 2013

The Legacy of Newtown

Every year after Thanksgiving I get a little nostalgic about the approaching holidays and the end of yet another year. This year, the news was dominated by two doomsday prophecies -- the fiscal cliff and the end of the world as predicted by the Mayan Calendar. In a year that included an exciting Olympic games in London, an intense campaign for the American Presidency and political scandal in Benghazi, not to mention the White House mess hall, none of us could have imagined that the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut would be the event that would capture our hearts in 2012.

As a grandparent of elementary-school-age children, this tragedy hit very close to home. Honestly, I cannot imagine being able to even get out of bed after suffering this kind of devastating loss. And yet as the story of Sandy Hook Elementary continues to unfold, its scope has miraculously expanded beyond the tragic. It has become a testament to the courage, superhuman strength and selflessness of these twenty-six families.

I am still amazed by the parents of beautiful Grace McDonnell, who spoke to Anderson Cooper with such composure and wisdom about the kind spirit of their beloved daughter guiding them through their grief. The parents of Jack Pinto who had the emotional wherewithal to bury their son in his favorite New York Giants jersey. The family of the animal-loving Catherine Hubbard asking for donations to be made to a local animal shelter in her honor. The scholarship fund set up by the parents of darling Chase Kowalski.

I have been truly inspired by the resiliency and resolve of the twenty-six families. Along with the community and religious leaders, educators and residents of Newtown, they are determined not to be remembered as victims but, instead, as unified catalysts of great change. Together they have shown us that from catastrophe can come incredible positivity.

With the last few days of the year quickly flying past, I think it's safe to say many of us are feeling a bit wistful, compiling a mental list of our regrets and resolutions for the New Year. Whatever our losses in 2012 or our fears in facing 2013, we have seen the bravery that is possible. And just as important, we should remember the unbridled joy, enthusiasm and love we saw in every one of those twenty-six unforgettable faces.

Happy New Year.