Just prior to the singing of the National Anthem by Alicia Keys before today's Super Bowl, a group of 26 youngsters will sing "America the Beautiful."
They are not, like Keys, at the world's premier sporting event primarily because of their singing prowess. They are students from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and each will represent one of the 20 students and six faculty members slain in the Dec. 14 shootings at the school.
It is a salient reminder that we are a mere six weeks removed from the Newtown tragedy.
Newtown has morphed into a national debate about gun control, the rights of gun owners, or the need for better mental health monitoring and care. Almost forgotten in all the verbiage is the fact that the carnage in Connecticut continues to impact real people there, and will for a long time to come.
As time goes by we lose sight of the fact that people in the peaceful community of Newtown continue to need assistance - spiritual, emotional and financial. The support that poured in from around the world after the Dec. 14 shootings has understandably waned. Warehouses in the Newtown area were filled with donated teddy bears, food, clothes, school supplies, blankets, toys, letters, cards, candles and artwork, according to John Voket, associate editor of The Newtown Bee newspaper.
The flood of donations was heartwarming, but also overwhelming. Newtown officials were forced to ask that such donations cease and that anything already collected be distributed to those in need in the area the items were gathered.
There remains a way to help financially, however. Leaders are asking that people visit nsbonline.com, a link to the Newtown Savings Bank. Clicking on the Sandy Hook School Support Fund link will redirect you to the United Way of Western Connecticut website, where directions on how to help can be found.
The site also includes information about other avenues available to assist the community and those affected by the tragedy.
At one time, that was all of us in one way or another. But the grief and the sympathy wear off, and those most immediately affected are left to face their sorrow without the eyes of the nation on them. Today's Newtown "chorus" performance should bring us back to what is still needed in that community - our prayers and, if possible, our continued financial help to get people there the social services they will continue to need.
The worst thing we can do is forget those who died on that tragic day, and those who live with the memory. Give what you can. Pray for those who will forever be scarred by the actions of a madman.
But please, don't forget.