It’s the kind of sorrow that unites.
Another American community is shattered and forever changed.
The town square in the small town of Uvalde, Texas, has transformed into a memorial adorned with 21 wooden crosses, each bearing the name of a victim of Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
It is where Robb Elementary teachers like Mercedes Salas visited Friday afternoon to grieve and remember the 19 little ones she knew and loved.
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“Layla,” she said through tears as she read Layla Salazar on one of the crosses.
“They were all beautiful children. They did not deserve this.”
For some, it is the kind of heartache they’ve felt before.
The latest news from around North Texas.
“You share their pain,” said Jennifer Caballero. “It never gets easier.”
Shane Rehman says Uvalde is the second city he’s lived in that’s experienced a mass shooting.
“The first one was in Aurora,” he said.
Aurora, Colorado, where a gunman shot and killed 12 moviegoers and injured dozens more in 2012.
On Tuesday night, he says he was at the Uvalde Civic Center comforting his co-worker after a DNA test confirmed his son Uziyah Garcia was among the 21 victims found inside Robb Elementary School.
“It’s just a shame that this even happened,” he said.
Caballero walked toward the memorial with her husband and two of her sons after driving into town from El Paso.
The family was inside an El Paso Walmart in August 2019 when a gunman opened fire, killing 23 people.
Caballero says her youngest son had just asked to walk back to the toy section to pick out a toy when the first shots rang out.
“One of the Walmart associates I do remember hearing said ‘Follow me this way!’ so we followed her out the back and by the grace of God we made it out alive,” she said almost in tears. “It’s hard, but we just wanted to come and show our respects to the families, the kids, show our unity. This is what El Paso Strong is about.”
For Uvalde mom Erika Bueno, the country’s latest massacre brings back painful memories of the September 2019 shooting rampage in her hometown of Odessa, Texas where seven people were murdered.
“I got a phone call about that and I just freaked out and called all my family wanting to know where they were,” Bueno recalls. “Even though I wasn’t there, I kind of relive everything.”
Some doubt anything will change following this tragedy.
“We have a country full of powerful politicians and they’re in it for profit,” said Rehman.
Others have hope that maybe, just maybe the nation has finally reached a turning point.