southtownstar
THORNY 
Weather Updates

Petzel: Christmas a time to remember the departed

A snowflake ornament with name 6-year-old Noah Pozner hangs Christmas tree makeshift memorial Sandy Hook village Newtown Conn. as town

A snowflake ornament with the name of 6-year-old Noah Pozner hangs on a Christmas tree at a makeshift memorial in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn., as the town mourns victims killed in the Dec. 14 school shooting. | File photo

storyidforme: 41781159
tmspicid: 15446355
fileheaderid: 6998937

Updated: January 24, 2013 6:11AM



Greetings fellow Oak Lawnians!

Christmas is just two days away and, as we anxiously anticipate Santa’s arrival and the joy of being with family and friends, we should also remember and keep in our prayers those who will not be with their families.

If you’ve lost a loved one this year, Christmas may not be so joyful for your family. The loss and absence of that person, whether it be from illness, sudden death, serving in the armed forces, violence or even advanced age, will leave a deep hole in your heart and your spirit.

To families of our Armed Forces who have lost a loved one while serving their country, I doubt a grateful nation is little comfort for your loss. For Armed Forces members who have returned injured and forever changed by war, we can only hope your worst days are behind you.

For those still serving, but away from their families this holiday season, we pray for your safe return home and are humbled by your commitment to keep our country safe.

Most importantly, Christmas is about children, and it’s impossible to not think about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14. What seemed to start out as just a routine Friday at the school has now turned into an unending nightmare for the victims’ families.

The loss of the 20 young and innocent lives and six adults has saddened the entire country. I pray that none of the victims suffered and that things happened so fast they didn’t have time to be frightened.

Such an overwhelming loss of life, particularly of such young and innocent children, is unfathomable. To lose a child under any circumstance is impossible to imagine, but for so many families to lose their babies by such a heinous act is inconceivable and unforgiveable.

Christmas will never be the same for the victims’ families — it was stolen from them. The parents and families of the smallest victims, the children, will never see the excitement of Christmas morning on their child’s face again. They will never get the chance to see their little faces, tuck them in bed, guide them through life, or share all their small and huge milestones on their journey through life.

They will never know what their child would have accomplished had they been given the chance to live and grow up. Instead, they are left with only the memories of their child’s short life to help get them through the dark and painful days ahead. My heart, as yours, is saddened by this senseless tragedy.

Despite this tragedy, Christmas is a blessed occasion and should be celebrated, and I wish you and your family a joyous holiday.

Celebrity
announcements

Happy first birthday to Gwen and Emma Smith from their mom, Aunt Tally, cousin Aidan and grandparents. Happy ninth birthday to Sunny Petzel (yes, we’re related). Christmas birthday wishes go out to Bailey Hornik, who’s turning 13, from her parents, Tom and Dale, and grandparents.

Nicole Sharon’s parents wish her a happy 15th birthday. Happy 16th birthday to Arman Barrett, from his mom, Nicole, and grandmother, Andreen. Happy birthday to Jennifer Martensen, who’s turning 22, from her parents, Donna and John, Heather and grandmother, Jane Martensen-Lytton.

Tina Caruso’s parents and Julie wish her a happy 22nd birthday. Happy 22nd birthday wishes also go out to the Harnois quads, Nichole, Joy, Matthew and Nathan, from their parents. Happy birthday to Janice Clardy, from Adam, Jonathan and Clyde.

Birthday wishes go out to Mary Thompson, from her husband, Ryan, and daughter, Roxanne. Christmas Eve birthday wishes go out to Steve Rockey, of the Oak Lawn Fire Department, from his wife, Beth, their children, Kara and Matt, Steve’s parents, Tom, Jan, Lynn and Karen.

Happy birthday to Len Gornik, from Kathy, their children, Solo and family. Christmas birthday wishes go out to John Peterson, from Sharon, Eric, Nolan, Ella, Boo and family. Kelly Clark wishes her husband, Colin, a happy 50th birthday. Colin is one of the biggest James Bond fans ever, so the theme for his New Year’s Eve birthday party had to be — what else — James Bond.

Wedding anniversary wishes go out to Joe and Theodosia Battersby on their fourth anniversary; and Keith and Erin Gonsowski, who are celebrating their ninth anniversary.

Congratulations to Bill Gunia on his retirement! After 40 years of service, Bill will retire from Griffith Labs on Dec. 28. His family and friends wish him all the best as he starts a new chapter in his life.

Keep your fellow Oak Lawnians informed about birthdays, special events or special “stuff” going on with your family or within the community. Call me at (708) 899-9544. Until next time...



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.