Sandy Hook Survivors Speak As They Graduate

( Six students who survived the Sandy Hook school shooting when they were in elementary school recently sat down for an interview with the media to recall their experiences during the massacre which claimed over two dozen people 12 years ago.

On Tuesday, June 11, six survivors of one of America’s deadliest mass shootings appeared on “Good Morning America” for an interview 12 years later: Emma Ehrens, Grace Fischer, Henry Terifay, Matt Holden, Ella Seaver, and Lilly Wasilnak. At the time of the shooting, they were elementary school students, and now they are speaking publicly for the first time as high school graduates.

On Dec. 14, 2012, their lives were dramatically changed and marked by the tragic shooting at their elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, by 20-year-old Adam Lanza. Twenty-six people died that day: six staff members and 20 students.

Ehrens, who was six years old at the time of the shooting, recalls how Lanza broke into her classroom during story time and opened fire. She recalled to host George Stephanopoulos how Lanza stood next to her when he entered the room and how she witnessed all of her friends “drop” to the ground before she and others ran away.

Holden, who was also six at the time, said his most vivid memory was his mother breaking down even though he did not quite understand “the gravity of the whole thing” at the time. Seaver said digging up the memories was “difficult,” even over a decade later, “because of how traumatic and painful it is.”

Terifay expressed concern that the Sandy Hook shooting did not wake more people up to pass gun control legislation. In the 12 years since the massacre, more school shootings have happened and Americans continue to debate how to handle such events while maintaining a society built upon firearms.

The stories told by the survivors illustrate the complexity of the issue and mark a time when Americans continue to struggle with a national identity built on rebellion and which has enshrined gun ownership into its constitution.

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