After Florida School Massacre, Community Grieves Together

By Erik Ogren and TJ Petrino   •   February 19, 2018

Seventeen white crosses stand to honor the victims of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Blue-shirted Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are used to deploying to sites of tragedy, yet each one comes with its own set of difficulties and grief. Since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine's Day, nearby Pine Trails Park has served as a memorial to the 17 victims as mourners stop to cry, pray, leave mementos and pay their respects.
Within hours of the shooting, chaplains were on the ground and ready to assist the hurting in any way possible. With the shooting in a school of 3,200 high schoolers, the need for emotional and spiritual care is great.
Huddled in prayer, a chaplain prays with those affected by the shooting.
Parkland, about a 20-minute drive from Boca Raton, was recently named the 15th safest city in the United States. The atmosphere has been different since last week's tragedy. Read an account from a few locals and how they're moving forward.
A candlelight vigil was held to honor the lives of those who are no longer here.
Many have stopped by Pine Trails Park to honor the lives of the victims or circle in prayer.
A chaplain talks to a young woman.
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains have a Mobile Ministry Center where people can stop for prayer or just to talk. Michele Brown, a youth leader at Parkridge Church whose son is a junior at a nearby high school, stopped by to thank the chaplains for being there. Many of the deployed chaplains are from Florida.
Many students and faculty showed the true meaning of love on Valentine's Day, giving up their lives out of love for another.
A poster remembering a high school coach and a student who were both killed in the massacre.
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit." —Psalm 34:18
As the horrific details weigh on people's hearts, a simple embrace can mean so much.
First responders are grateful for prayers while trying to assist their community through such a crisis.
The Rapid Response Team's Mobile Ministry Center is situated near the memorial for anyone who may want to stop by.
A hug to let a local woman know she's not alone.
The community remembers their loved ones and comes together in the tragedy.
Talking to God in a time of crisis. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort..." —2 Corinthians 1:3
The is needed in the darkest of times.
A tangible sign of a community coming together in grief.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." —Matthew 5:4
Please continue to lift up the Parkland community in prayer.
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