|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 12.17.12
Monday, December 17, 2012 â€“
As a father to three young children, I was heartbroken upon hearing of the heinous, criminal act that took place Friday morning in Newtown, Connecticut. No words can describe this senseless crime that took the lives of many. As details of this tragedy continue to emerge, let us give thanks for the school faculty, law enforcement officers, medical personnel, and brave students who helped get people to safety.
This time last year, I wrote about American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his poem Christmas Bells, but the poem and song seem especially poignant this year after Fridayâ€™s tragedy in Newtown.
We in western Virginia know all too well that senseless violence like this has no place in our society. Any tragedy is difficult to understand, but especially difficult to comprehend are those that impact young people. In the days and weeks ahead, my family and I will continue praying for strength and comfort for all those grieving, particularly for the victimsâ€™ families, whose lives will never be the same.
After suffering through years of great despair following the tragic loss of his wife and the injury of his son Charles in the War Between the States, Longfellow wrote Christmas Bells, which was the basis for the carol I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. This carol tells of its narratorâ€™s despair that â€śhate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men,â€ť until he hears the ringing of the bells, which celebrate the power of faith and offer great hope.
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men...
And in despair I bowed my head
â€śThere is no peace on earth,â€ť I said,
â€śFor hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good well to men.â€ť
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men!"
Just like Longfellow, we have witnessed despair and evil, particularly over this last week, but â€śGod is not dead; nor doth he sleep!â€ť As we mourn and yes, cry, let us also celebrate the Christmas season, for this is the message that we must remember: â€śGod so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).â€ť From my family to yours, best wishes for a safe and merry Christmas.
In observance of Christmas there will not be a column next week, but as always, if you have concerns or comments or wish to inquire about legislative issues, feel free to contact my offices. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at