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Letter: Remember, rather than politicize, the victims of Stoneman Douglas

Today was the day of the walk out to remember the victims of the shooting at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Today was the day I walked into class and saw someone with an orange shirt that said "Am I next?" Today was the day that I looked out the window of my classroom to see a crowd of about 100 gathered together with a few orange balloons, a few signs, a megaphone and a message. Today was the day to remember the 17 victims who died in the Stoneman Douglas shooting.

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14

Scott Beigel, 35

Martin Duque, 14

Nicholas Dworet, 17

Aaron Feis, 37

Jaime Guttenberg, 14

Chris Hixon, 49

Luke Hoyer, 15

Cara Loughran, 14

Gina Montalto, 14

Joaquin Oliver, 17

Alaina Petty, 14

Meadow Pollack, 18

Helena Ramsay, 17

Alex Schachter, 14

Carmen Schentrup, 16

Peter Wang, 15

This is the list of those who will never see their school again. This is a list of those who will never say "hi" to their families or give a kiss goodbye. This is the list of people whose lives were ripped away with the ringing out of shots. And that's tragic, isn't it? Tragic that nine of these people won't get to blow out the candles on their 16th birthday cake. Tragic that 14 of these individuals never got the chance to vote. Tragic that they couldn't buy lottery tickets. Tragic that they never got to say goodbye as many on their deathbeds do. Tragic that life was ripped away.

So let us remember.

Let us take a moment to wonder over the beauty of life, and the opportunity that we all have. Let us remember these people and let us not forget. But let us not simply use them as an excuse for getting out of class or an excuse for spreading our gun stances. Let us remember them. Let us all come together and remember them, but also remember life. Let us not forget to breathe and to bear the weight together as humans. Let us share the burden and read their names. Let us hug our parents, our siblings and our kids. Let us use this as a reason to live. Remember these people for what they were - people. Let us not misconstrue this day, and moment of remembrance for a politically-based stance.

Put your signs down, let your political platform remain unvoiced and instead, remember them.

Remembrance is often a non-showy quite act of solace. Remembrance should not be a politicized walkout or a rally. We should not hold a policy-based event and crudely slap these victims' names on the side to add ethos to our cause. Let us respect their death and honor them by remembering them for who they were, not for what we can brand them to be.

Give these people the rest they deserve.

When I looked out the window today toward the crowd of students who chose to walk out, I saw a demonstration and not a remembrance. Let us not tie up and dirty their legacies with politics. Instead, respect their innocent lives in a display of simple remembrance.

Axtman is an 11th grader at Davies High School in Fargo.