It was a small reminder, really.
A simple gesture, intended to make us think about something unthinkable and remember that which we might rather forget.
Bradenton couple Paul and Ellen Devine had that in mind when they adopted a turtle nest on Anna Maria Island to commemorate the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (See our Page 1 story in this edition.)
The Valentine’s Day massacre left 17 students and teachers dead and 17 more wounded.
Senseless. Unbelievable. And right here in our state.
The Devines used the Adopt-a-Nest program established by Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring to get their message across.
The couple lived not far from the school for 20 years. Paul Devine’s two nephews attended the school.
The Devines remember.
So does Turtle Watch volunteer Brianna Villegas Vindiola, who went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High as a senior. Her two brothers still attend and were there during the shooting.
When she saw the Adopt-a-Nest plaque, she remembered. When the nest hatches, Vindiola plans to deliver to the high school one of the two plaques marking the nest.
“It ties you to something bigger than yourself,” she said.
Never forget. Always remember. And pause to consider simple gestures.