Last Wednesday, Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo was thousands of miles away in Vancouver when a gunman barged into Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people with an AR-15 style rifle. The veteran goaltender’s two children, Gabriella and Gianni, attend elementary school in the Parkland area where the family resides. With the two children’s school under lockdown, Luongo felt scared. He was helpless to do anything.
Thursday night after an emotional pregame ceremony by the Panthers honoring the victims, Luongo addressed the BB&T Center crowd.
Thursday marked the Panthers first home game since the incident.
An emotional Roberto Luongo addresses the home crowd prior to tonight's game, saying he is inspired by how the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas have responded after the school shooting last Wednesday. #MSDStrong #NHL #FlaPanthers #OneTerritory pic.twitter.com/KV1ERJvr7l
— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) February 23, 2018
Luongo began, “I first want to start off by saying that I live in Parkland. I’ve been living there for the last 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 and I was in Vancouver,” Luongo continued. “Obviously we all know what happened. It was hard for me to be on the West Coast and get back home and protect my family. No child should have to ever go through that. It’s terrible. It’s time for us as a community to take action. Enough is enough. We have 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 know we’re there for you if you guys need anything. You’ll be in our prayers. Let’s try to move on together.
“To the teachers at the school, you guys are heroes. 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.”
Luongo saved his kindest words for the Stoneman Douglas students who have demanded change from President Trump and local politicians. Wednesday night, the students even participated in a town hall where they called for a ban on assault-style guns from Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson and NRA spokesman Dana Loesch. They asked difficult questions and represented themselves with class.
This just happened: Stoneman Douglas High student Cameron Kasky asked Marco Rubio if he’ll stop accepting donations from the NRA pic.twitter.com/fcKwf9TuqJ
— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) February 22, 2018
Student Chris Grady: “Would you agree that there is no place in our society for large capacity magazines?”
Rubio: I traditionally have not supported it, but “after this and some of the details I learned about it, I am reconsidering that position”https://t.co/EjObz2456f
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 22, 2018
Emma Gonzalez has an important message for President Trump and no one should ignore this beautiful young woman whose life will never be the same because of a mass shooting.
Retweet if you support this woman and not the NRA’s $30 million donation to Trump https://t.co/F5gmdO5cZF
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) February 17, 2018
“The last thing I want to say is since last Wednesday, I’ve been watching the news and I’ve been seeing the kids from Stoneman Douglas have been doing and 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.”
Well said, Roberto. 👏
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