PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – Friday marked two years since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.
To honor the 17 students and faculty who lost their lives that tragic day, school districts across the country, including Broward and Miami-Dade, observed a moment of silence at 10:17 a.m.
February 14th has been designated a Day of Service and Love to honor those who died.
WATCH: SUPERINTENDENT ROBERT RUNCIE TALKS TO MEDIA ABOUT DAY OF SERVICE AND LOVE
“Today is a day of service and love,” said Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie. “We have students, staff, employees throughout the county who are working on a variety of service projects and activities throughout their schools. Projects that include service to others. We hope that this is a day that we work with our students to help them to develop positive character traits, to understand the importance of kindness, to understand how important it is for all us to connect with one another, and to give back to our community.”
His words were at one point interrupted when some screamed out about the Promise Program, a controversial second chance program that some believe enabled the school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, to carry out his murderous rage.
The superintendent said they’ve made strides in the last two years to make the county’s schools safer.
“Two years later I can tell you that this district unlike any other district that I know in this state, in this country, has done an enormous amount of work to enhance safety and security our top priority, said Runcie. “We’ve invested over a hundred million dollars in safety and security measures including adding thousands of additional video surveillance cameras and ensuring that those cameras now are connected to law enforcement agencies such as the sheriff’s office and other law enforcement entities who have entered into that agreement,” said Runcie.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony, who attended a breakfast for first responders hosted by Douglas High students, called today a reminder of the importance of how public safety cannot fall short when safeguarding children.
“This is a reminder to me of the importance of what we do in terms of public safety and how we can not fall short when it’s time for us to safeguard our children and this entire populace here in Broward County,” he said. “I was taken away this morning by knowing that the students here at MSD had put this event together, breakfast for first responders, and it was a good sign and indicator that we are starting to heal in this community.”
Mike Wallace, whose son was junior when the shooting took place, went to the Memorial Garden where he said the shooting had a lasting impact on his life and his family’s life.
“He survived, thank God, it’s sad it will never be the same around here,” he said.
Thinking back to the day still terrifies him.
“I think of the phone calls, all the sirens, it was bad,” he said.
In the afternoon, many headed to Pine Trails Park where there was a memorial service honoring the victims. Pictures with text summarizing their lives were displayed under lights.
Inside the community center, hundreds of volunteers turned grief into action, preparing meals for Haiti’s poor.
Among the packers, there was a group of MSD juniors who were freshmen when the tragedy happened.
“We had friends we lost and the community lost a lot. This is a way to give back,” said Caroline Cobb.