Slice of Life: Today They March 24 of 31

For the month of March, I'll be writing with the Slice of Life community. Disclaimer: I'll be writing every day so the writing will be a bit unpolished most days. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community together and for inspiring me to try to find the stories that surround me each day.

When we started drills for active shooters, I really don't know. In my mind, it seems we've been doing them for quite some time. It was always hard to sit with six-year-olds, knowing the reason we were practicing, and trying to tell them something that would calm their fears. They worried about fire drills and tornado drills, but it always struck me how wrong it was they had to worry about this.  As a child, I remember how I worried about tornado drills, but these students sitting silently around me were dealing with so much more.

The year of Sandy Hook had to be the hardest. We had a drill shortly after the shooting, and I still remember looking into the sweet faces of my students who were, at the time, the exact same age as the children I'd seen on the television screen: victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. I remember calming the anxiety of the children who worry in any drill, looking at them knowing I would do anything to keep them safe, and trying to keep my calm teacher face while thinking that my students were the same age as those who so tragically had just lost their lives.

Since then, as a teacher, I’ve been through more intensive trainings for defense, flight, and even triage. It breaks my heart every. single. time. No six year old - or sixteen year old - should have to wonder if they are safe in schools. The answers are surely complex, but I know we could move toward some common sense first steps. I don't believe those are more guns, metal detectors, or armed guards.  Those children that sat with me that day, are now in sixth grade, I believe. I only hope they, along with children and families everywhere, never have to walk the path that these families, who know tragedy far too well, are now walking.

They’re all our kids.

Today They March
Today they march
   For commonsense laws,
   For change,
   For their lives.

Today they march
   To do what adults could not:
   End the tragedy,
   Stop the violence.

Today they march:
   To raise their voice,
   To change their future,
   To save lives.

No more hiding in corners.
   No more practicing for the unacceptable.
   No more loss of life.
   No more!

Today they march.
    Young warriors of words.
    Making a difference.

Today they march
   For their friends
   No longer able
   To raise their voices.

Today they march
    For commonsense laws
    For change
    For their lives.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2018


  1. So, so, wrong! The way you structured your poem- with the short lines and the repetition, is perfect! I'll be marching this afternoon in Denver…

    1. Stay safe, Carol. Thank you for raising your voice. We have a family wedding shower this afternoon so I'm unable to March, but hoping my virtual contribution will be one step. There are so many more that need to be taken.

  2. A powerful post with an important message. Let's hope the powers that be take these marchers seriously today and ENACT change, rather than spout useless words in response.

  3. These drills are so unsettling to me too. My students are in high school and we've had candid conversations-all rooted in fear.

    Your poem is so powerful. Thank you for posting

  4. Amazing post, Cathy. Love the form of your poem - the repeated lines. We stand together for change.

  5. A somber subject, but your powerful poem captured it beautifully. Thanks for sharing. ~JudyK

  6. Love the poem. We have turned the phrase “children are our future” into a cliche, but the teens who organized the March are changing the present and the future. I’m so proud to teach teens.

  7. It is too much to ask, but I am grateful for those students who are leading the way...and everyone who stands behind them. I hope we can move past the endless arguments where no one listens and look for solutions.

  8. Your words are powerful. It's been amazing to see all those who went out to march today as I watch the news this evening. Change is needed. Our voices need to be heard. Thank you Cathy!


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