Valentine’s day has not always been about love, even in 1929 during the prohibition days there was a fight between the Irish American gang and the South Side Italian gang led by Al Capone to take over organized crime and control parts of Chicago. Seven men died that night. The St. Valentine’s day Massacre as it would be come to be known was a dark hour in our history much like yesterday. But what happens the day after the massacre?

Unfortunately massacres or mass shootings are happening more often than we should accept in our society, but it has become a reality that tragedy can strike around any corner. While this great nation has seen tragedy strike, it is the resounding stories of unwavering courage, strength, love, and support that shine in our darkest hours as a nation. We see negatives being turned into positives across our history. Some of the more recent examples include The Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine High School Shooting, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Sandy Hook, Hurricane Sandy, Virginia Tech shooting, Pulse, Las Vegas, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria and the Las Vegas shooting just to name a few. Now the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will follow the same pattern.

Some of the most uplifting stories rise from the ashes of tragedy. We find ways to help those that we don’t know. It is called being community. When tragedy strikes the community both hurts but also acts by responding with resilience and love. In the coming days you will see an outpouring of love and support from everything from cards, to crosses, to blood donations and much more. The media will still focus on politicizing the event and lawmakers are already discussing things like gun control, but it is the community that starts the healing process and does the most good. While emotions are high, they also become the greatest assets to yield actions. Pulse is an excellent example of how a community came together to overcome hate and discrimination and showed the world that Orlando and Central Florida is a place full of love and inclusion.

But why do we wait until tragedy strikes? Why do we not continue to work together as a community long after the news cameras are gone and its months or even a year after the tragedy happened? If we know that there are good ways to prevent these events from happening, why don’t we act or why do we complain if it takes an extra 5 or 10 minutes to go through security at a theme park to ensure all guests and employees are safe? We live in troubled times, and it is our responsibility build relationships and to put preventative measure in place to protect lives.

With the dawn comes new hope that we can rise up together in unity as one nation under God that exudes love and support of their neighbor as brothers and sisters of this great nation. Only together can we move forward to secure a more promising and safer future for generations to come. We need to build relationships not conflict, love not hate, understanding not ignorance, and work together as a community to strengthen our towns to ensure safety. We are a great nation, it’s time we start acting like one. We need to ask the question what can I do to make a difference in someone’s life today? How can I bring about positive change? That is what Positively Osceola stands for, a community centered on the foundation of neighbor helping neighbor and providing opportunities for positive interactions for a greater good.