I can't quantify how impressed I am with the students of Stoneman Douglas. No one should ever have to experience the horror they did.
But their hard work is just beginning. And no, I'm not talking about the fires they've lit to try to make this country safer.
I'm talking about trying to walk back through those doors. The doors they fled amid a hail of bullets. The doors behind which their friends and teachers were murdered in cold blood.
Trauma like what they endured imprints on the brain. Seemingly unrelated details from that day suddenly become triggers of horrific flashbacks.
It took me several months of exposure therapy and previsualization to even be able to walk through the doors of Discovery without feeling like I was going to collapse.
To this day, I have to exhale deeply and rub my fingers together as I walk through the scene of own trauma, grounding myself in the now as I enter the lobby of Discovery for freelance projects.
It's been 7 years since I was taken hostage in my own office building. A place I should have felt safe. Seven years, and my body still reacts to the ghosts of what happened.
These kids have just begun their journey of healing. I pray that through their work to make our country safer for other kids they find peace themselves.