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Virginia Beach will always be special

To the editor:

It was upsetting to hear about the shooting that happened in Virginia Beach at the city’s municipal building, where 12 lives were taken by a lone gunman. The shooting is still leaving a lot of people shaken up and asking “What’s next?”

Even though I wasn’t born or raised in Virginia Beach, I call this city my home away from home. During my last two years in college, I resided in this city, and I immediately became fascinated with it. Once I graduated and packed my belongings from my room, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay. Since I graduated, I make sure to come to Virginia Beach every chance I have and enjoy the experience. The mindset of the people who work and live in Virginia Beach has always been about bringing forth the best of what they gave, whether it was striking up a conversation, providing goods or providing services. The diversity of places to go and people to meet is a sign that the city has a lot to offer.

In response to the shooting, I want to say that we should take as much time as needed to mourn, weep and cope with what has transpired. It seems that when we deal with devastating situations such as death, we are often rushed to “get over it” due to the fear that people will label us as weak, sensitive or, in the religious community, having a lack of faith. However, the time is now for places to be created in homes, churches, schools and in the workforce so that people will be able to share how they feel without the fear of being judged or criticized. We have to accept and respect the fact that everyone copes in different ways, and sometimes it takes a few weeks, a few months or a few years. Regardless of how long the coping process is for each person, we should be willing to understand each other.

To the city of Virginia Beach and to the people who are coping with losing a loved one, a co-worker, or a friend, my heart goes out to you. I stand with you during this hard and devastating time, and I wish all of you Godspeed.

Kenya Smith

Suffolk