Why?

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Sometimes sadness doesn’t hit until days later. Sometimes it takes a child’s question to make a grown-up stop and see.

“Why is the flag so low, Mom?” my six-year-old asked.

“Oh,” I said, looking up as I parked the car. I’d been in my own world, thinking of what I needed at the grocery store, thinking of lesson plans and other things to get done. But his question made me pause. And made my eyes fill up. “It’s because something sad happened.”

“What?”

“Someone took a gun and killed some people down in Arizona. He killed a little girl.”

“Why do they put the flag down like that?”

“Well,” I said, crying, realizing the meaning of the answer for the first time, “to help us remember.”

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