Brooke Harrison is a 14-year-old freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.
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For me, Feb. 14, was a day known for celebrating those I loved — it is now a day of celebrating those I lost.
It was Valentine’s Day when a shooting massacre occurred at my high school in Parkland, Florida. My friends and I were all giving each other heart-shaped chocolates and teddy bears. The day was full of love, which makes the tragedy that occurred even worse.
I was in my fourth-period class, honors English, and we were all in groups of three or four, sitting next to our friends, and finishing up our essays.
Then I heard it: BANG! BANG! BANG!
It is a sound that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
It sounded as if someone was banging on the walls at first, but I hit the floor nonetheless.
I banged into multiple things while trying to seek cover behind my teacher’s desk. I was pushed back by someone and told there was not enough room. I tried not to panic as I resorted to my only option, in front of the teacher’s desk. There I found a fellow classmate with what looked like a graze on his arm but turned out to be a gunshot.
I told him it was a graze to ease his mind, but then he started to cough up blood. Then after about six minutes of shooting another classmate crawled over and was in complete and utter pain. He was shot in his shoulder, arm, and stomach.
The need to survive kicked in as I tried my best to tell him to keep his breathing steady, and I told him to look directly at me while he breathed in and out. I went on to instruct him to tell me if he felt dizzy and desperately told him to put pressure on his stomach wound. Then the gunman came back for his ammunition and he was right outside our door. He shot in, again, and went away.
I saw him come one more time and look through our window. The shadow I saw of him is burned into my head. SWAT came a couple of minutes later and asked, “Is the shooter inside?”
We all hastily yelled, “No!”
The authorities responded by telling us where to run, and we ran as fast as we could.
One of my best friends, Alaina Petty was behind me hiding behind the desk. Not a single second goes by where I don’t think about her and dread the truth that I’m never seeing her again.
We were children that came out as survivors of war.
No one gets to say that our claims are not valid. We all hid away and prayed that we weren’t next or that someone would come soon and save us.
The cop that was on patrol that day stood there as he heard the gunshots and sounds of children praying and screaming for their lives, and he didn’t come to our rescue.
I want schools to be safer, and they need to be. No person should ever have to see what I saw that day, especially a child. I want more police on all school campuses, especially officers that will follow protocol.
Not only that, but the mental health system needs to be more involved with the purchasing of a gun. This man was the textbook definition of a lunatic, there’s no sane reason why he should’ve been able to purchase that firearm or any others.
It has only been a little over a month since the Parkland massacre and there was already another school shooting in Maryland. It shows you that this will continue to happen if we don’t get our voices heard and if the people in power don’t do what is necessary for our safety.
We will never forget what happened, and we will do all we can to make sure this never happens again.