The theme for this year’s Waukesha Christmas Parade was “Comfort and Joy,” and the organizers of the annual celebration promised, “Downtown Waukesha will be packed with patrons November 21st.”
The people came, in the thousands, as they have since the early 1960s, to the center of one of Wisconsin’s most historic cities.
But instead of “comfort and joy” they ended up in the middle of a “mass casualty event” after an SUV driver raced onto the parade route and killed at least five marchers. Dozens more were injured.
What happened in Waukesha could have happened anywhere. But the deaths occurred in Wisconsin, and so the heartbreak is a little closer to home.
Because this violence is associated with a holiday parade, it feels a bit more horrific. Thoughts and prayers have been extended, and that is good.
But let us also offer our support for the public safety personnel that raced to aid the injured in Waukesha’s most difficult moment. There can be no doubt that lives were saved because of their courage and quick thinking.
Let us sustain the families that have suffered losses of life and injuries.
And let us remember that we have known heartbreak at this time of year before. This was the 58th annual Waukesha Christmas Parade. People who count back through the years will surely note that at the start of the holiday season in 1963, President John Kennedy was assassinated. The horror of Nov. 22, 1963, was not forgotten. But over time, Americans healed and went on.
We will not forget the horror of what happened in Waukesha on Nov. 21, 2021. But over time, we will heal and go on with a renewed sense of love and solidarity — for the people of Waukesha, and for all of us.