I am sitting outside of the elementary school in Townville, South Carolina, as I write this. I came to pray with and for a community that is still grieving the loss of one of its youngest. It was just one month ago when a 14-year-old gunman came onto this campus and opened fire on the playground. He struck two students and a teacher before being brought down by a volunteer firefighter. Thankfully the young man never made it inside the school where this tragedy could have been far worse. Unfortunately one of the victims, a 6-year-old boy named Jacob Hall, would later die from the wounds he sustained.
Today, there are still dozens of signs decorating the entrance
to the school. Each surrounded by stuffed animals, flowers and balloons. These colorful signs are painted in bright colors and say "Pray For Townville," "Townville Strong" and "We love you Jacob." They stand as a solemn reminder of a tragedy that will forever mark this community.
Townville is a small, quaint, rural and peaceful town that can't even boast of a single stop light. It is the kind of town you drive through and never realize it was there. No one ever imagines events like this happening so close to home, my home. Townville is just 10 minutes down the road from where I grew up.
Small communities like these have no choice but to go
through tragedies together. That was certainly evident at the funeral. Fifteen hundred people came to pay their respects. In a fitting tribute to young Jacob, many came dressed as superheroes. Even Batman showed up to deliver the eulogy. It was a proper and moving farewell. Apparently Jacob, like so many kids his age, loved pretending to be Superman. He often told his mom that he was out saving his city while everyone else slept.