October 1st, 2017 will forever mark the date of the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
With his actions, the shooter, Stephen Paddock, did not just attempt to terrify a few hundred concert-goers— he attempted to terrify a nation. In the end, he succeeded in killing at least 59 people and leaving another 527 more injured.
Megan O’Donnell Clements, from Wilmington, Delaware, had traveled to Las Vegas for the Route 91 Harvest Festival and was present at the time of the tragedy.
A few days after the shooting, the Love What Matters Facebook page published a powerful message that had been written and submitted by Clements herself.
It reads, “On Sunday night, a man who’s [sic] name doesn’t matter chose to open fire on a group of us celebrating live music and friendship […] He chose to end at least 59 lives, forever scar 527 more, and to instill fear into all 22,000 of us.”
“But,” she writes. “We chose to help.”
Clements goes on to describe how everyone at the festival came together in their time of need, ultimately helping each other in whatever ways they could manage.
“Some chose to break fences, to lead others to openings and try to find open doors,” she writes. “Some chose to find bottled water to distribute, to ask if anyone needed help or medical attention. Some chose to share cell phones, chargers, and snacks. Some chose just to comfort complete strangers in total shock.
“But we all chose to help one another.”
Through it all, Clements was extremely lucky to have only suffered a few scraped knees from the ordeal— but, she says, those scrapes are only a “physical manifestation of soul-changing injuries.”
In the time that follows a horrific act of this sort, people often become fearful and anxious about what may be lurking behind every corner— but Clements is determined to avoid that behavior at all costs.
“My choice,” she says, “is to focus on the pictures [below]. To remember that we’re here, we’re ok, we’re the lucky ones. We are unbelievably blessed to continue on in this life. To show cowards like this man and those that wish to harm others that the human spirit is far stronger than your hate will ever be.”
“I choose to let the music go on, because now is when it helps soothe the soul.”
“I choose to keep living in every sense of the word because so many others that were there with me no longer can.”
Clements’ inspiring message has been shared over 4,000 times, ultimately garnering hundreds of comments:
Read it for yourself below.
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