It's almost hard to believe that it's been one year since the awful tragedy that befell Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. But it was in the aftermath of that evil that the Nation once again came together, and people from all walks of life sent their prayers and support to a town ravaged in sorrow.
One such person was New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who made a day-long trip to the town sans media spotlight and fanfare. Instead, his visit was personal, emotional and life-altering.
"A lot of my memories are just how you could see the remorse on everybody's face, no matter how excited they were to see me or how excited they were that I was there," Cruz recalls to the New York Daily News. "Deep down you could see there was remorse in their faces. Me being there was a tremendous help for that short period of time so they could forget about it and be joyous and happy that I was there. But there was that elephant in the room of what was going on."
Still, Cruz remained in Newtown throughout the day, playing with the children, talking with the parents and reflecting with those who suffered some of the greatest loss imaginable.
In addition to his visit, Cruz paid special tribute to six-year-old Jack Pinto, who was one of the world's biggest Giants fans and was even buried wearing Cruz's No. 80, by writing "R.I.P. Jack Pinto" on one of his cleats and "My Hero" on the other. Cruz also inscribed "This one is 4 u!" inside of one of his gloves.
Both the gloves and cleats, as you might expect, were then gifted to Pinto's family.
Two weeks after that game, the New York Football Giants then sent a convoy of busses to Newtown to transport survivors, family members and other town residents to MetLife Stadium where a special ceremony would be held in their honor. And during introductions, they would line the field as Big Blue exited the tunnels.
But the Giants, being who they are, didn't just run onto the field and begin warm-ups. Rather, every single member of the team took their time shaking hands and greeting those who had made their way to East Rutherford. All the while, the decals "S.H.E.S." inscribed on the back of each of their helmets glistened in the sun.
"I'm not sure what," Cruz says. "We'll see. But I do plan on doing something."
It's for these reasons many of us remain Giants fans. There is a different level of class that filters down from owners to players, and that will be shown again today.
Victory of defeat, Cruz and the Giants are once again winners today as continue to send out thoughts and prayers to those who suffered such loss on December 14th, 2012.
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