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I grew up in the fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada for the last ten or so years of my young life. As you can probably imagine, the city life was just as fascinating to me as it was for any other child that grew up in rural areas for the beginning years of their growth. The city lights brought heat to my big blue eyes and the buildings were like Jack’s beanstalk, it never seemed to reach an endpoint. The sound of airplanes were as magical as the shooting stars and the people were so lively, that is—until October 1, 2017.
This night would bring forth the first time Las Vegas wasn’t live with celebration and the peoples energies crawled into balls and just faded to nothing but silence. Vegas is the City of Sin, and it was. It really was. The stage that stood in front of thousands of country fans was the platform, let alone did they know that the devil sang louder than the crowd because he was to be known in his town. This was really the city of sin.
1,100+ rounds was the beat jamming into 58 of the most innocent everyday people's minds before anyone could even realize it. An unlucky number that left many families in so much misery. The witnesses stained, the injured skidded, and the fatalities certain.
It was the morning after that night that I sat on my school bus and found on my phone a plethora of panic.
You hear stories about things like this happening across the world and you feel sympathetic and carry on with your day and don’t even think about what destruction that causes in that town. But when something like that happens in your home, a place you feel safe and wanted… You come to realize that these things are real and that they could happen anywhere. We believed that when the twin towers were attacked and the flights hijacked that we would never again have to feel that much loss and insecurity ever again, but you forget that these situations are reality.
I remember every message I was sent that morning, people contacting everyone on their friend’s list for head counts, people reaching out to me asking where I was at and if I was alright. All of this was just too unreal. Even Facebook cast a signing to let people know that you are safe and unharmed. All the while, I was in panic asking where my friends were at.
I knew of few friends attending the concert and I wouldn’t stop the panic until I figured out where everyone was.
We knew that there were death tolls, but no names have been released yet. So you could probably imagine the absolute stress and chaos everyone was under that is until I saw one of the first names they distributed by the public, and I just remember a shock of pain shooting across my chest. A young man I knew from Basic Academy was among the 58 of those deceased. I sat in doubt for the longest time just thinking that it’s just a mistake, but surely my mind was elsewhere. I haven’t cried so hard in front of people since I lost my little brother and it was evident that when I got to my school out in Vegas, that the pain was mutual.
I remember pulling up to the school and looking out the window to see a bunch of students and staff wearing “free hug” signs around their necks offering hugs to everyone and anyone. As I write this I feel my heart ache because I saw the good in people and it immediately brought me back to knowing that most people are good. Classes went on, but no work was done. Every teacher sat down with us and worked through us to speak. The councilors offices were flooded with children and I saw others crying just as much as myself, people you would never expect to see crying in all of your days. You could just tell what damage has been done in this big city.
Every billboard read, “#vegasstrong” and every channel had something to say about it.
I remember watching Adam Sandler and Miley Cyrus on Jimmy Fallon’s show singing “No Freedom” in respects to this occurrence and I couldn’t stop myself from welding up with bullets of tears. To know that everyone around the country was sympathizing with us meant so much to me personally in this time because it made me feel like we as people can always be there to support each other and I felt like a team again.
To this day I still cry in remembrance of those who passed. Music is a beautiful thing and it’s one of the only things that we as people around the world can connect with. It is a sad day when that kind of love takes a terrifying turn for the worst in a time of togetherness.
To this day I look upon the big Q that was placed next to Basic’s B on the hill and I smile to remember that he was a really fantastic role model and an inspiration to so many people in this town. To know that he left his legacy to stay there forever both physically and in spirit is such a beautiful thing that I hope a lot of people learn for themselves.
The world is unpredictable. Las Vegas will never forget October 1, but we will keep going to spread awareness and look out for each other. Be careful out there, and be thankful that you are safe. We will never forget those who have gone, and they will forever be held with the highest of respect in all of our hearts.