It certainly is a difficult time for many people in Florida and around the country following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla last Wednesday.
For Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, it hit especially close to his heart.
The high school is just 20 minutes north of the BB&T Center, where the Panthers play their home games. Luongo currently resides in Parkland — his wife is from the area — and their kids go to school in the Parkland school system.
The Panthers played their first home game Thursday since the tragic event, and an incredibly emotional pregame ceremony took place. In the ceremony, Luongo took the microphone and gave a powerful three-minute speech.
“I just want to start off by saying that I live in Parkland,” Luongo said, as transcribed by the Panthers, via CBS Sports.
“I’ve been living there for the past 12 years. My wife was born and raised in that area. My kids go to school in Parkland. When I’m done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland. I love that city.
“Last week was Valentine’s Day. I was in Vancouver. Obviously, we all know happened. It was hard for me to be on the West Coast and not be able to get back home and protect my family. No child should have to go through that. It’s terrible. It’s time for us as a community to take action. It’s enough. Enough is enough. We got to take action.
“To the families of the victims, our hearts are broken for you guys. There’s not much to say. It’s heartbreaking. You guys are in our thoughts. We’ve been thinking about you every day constantly for the last week. Just to know that we’re there for you if you guys need anything. You’ll be in our prayers. Let’s try and move on together. Last, just two more things.
“Just to the teachers of the school, you guys are heroes protecting your children. Some of them didn’t make it, trying to protect children. That is truly what a hero is. Those people need to be put on a pedestal for the rest of their lives.
“The last thing I want to say is since last Wednesday, I’ve been watching the news and I’ve been seeing what the kids from Stoneman Douglas have been doing. I am very, very proud of you guys. You guys are brave. You guys are an inspiration to all of us. At the end of the day, you guys are what’s giving us hope for the future.
Luongo’s speech is yet another example of the resilience the students of the high school and people of Parkland have shown in the wake of heartbreaking tragedy.