I fully remember the September 11th terrorist attacks; I was in 6th grade gym class in New Jersey, while both my parents were at work in New York City. As a nurse at Bellevue Hospital, my mom did not come home till the next morning and my dad came home around 3AM. To this day, the footage of the Twin Towers has never left my mind. Furthermore, I never thought I would experience another tragic event of innocent people being murdered at a massive scale in my city.
A week ago on October 1st, I was heading to work at 10:30pm. My husband told me that there was a shooting in Vegas, my new home. We heard sirens and saw police cars zooming through Highway 95 South towards the Las Vegas strip. We weren’t too sure what was happening until I saw the breaking news alert about a shooting at an outdoor festival next to Mandalay Bay. My heart dropped as I saw the video footage.
The fabulous city of bright lights that my husband and I have called home, after getting married and moving to Las Vegas from New Jersey last summer, froze in shock and distraught as a shooter killed 58 people and injured more than 500 at an outdoor music festival. While the objective of the shooter was to cause harm, fear, and division, I witnessed the city of Las Vegas come together united regardless of a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, and most importantly political background.
I am incredibly proud to call the Battle Born state my home. I watched countless people open their hearts, spreading kindness and the greatest gift of love to the victims, families, first responders, and to anyone affected by the mass shooting. I will never forget the outpouring of support by local businesses and hotels, initiating assistance through fundraisers, free food, and hotel stay.
The United States is so politically divided right now; it didn’t take pundits and activists long to polarize this tragic event. The people of Las Vegas, however, did not politicize this horrific shooting, because this shooting affected us directly. In fact, we didn’t have time to politicize. It was time to get to work.
The people of Las Vegas came together to help one another. We each, individually, did our part for the collective good, united as one, to help the victims, families, and first responders. The images of long lines to donate blood with a four-hour wait showed the world that when we stand together, no one stops us from doing deeds of kindness and love. People donated blood regardless of their political differences. There was not a “Republican” or “Democrat” blood type; the Las Vegas shooting demonstrated to the world that we all have the same blood rushing through our veins.
The people of Las Vegas have become an instrument of inspiration to the world in a time of crisis and tragedy. Embedded with the fundamentals of President Lincoln, forming the Battle Born state of Nevada during the Civil War, we are Vegas Strong.