Jenna von Oy: Actress and Newtown native responds to Sandy Hook tragedy
Jenna von Oy, an actress best known for her role in the '90s NBC sitcom "Blossom," has spoken out about the recent shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Unlike other celebrities who have responded to the tragic event, von Oy has a very personal take on the story: She grew up in Newtown.
"Every school shooting I've ever heard about has been exceedingly heartbreaking and has stirred feelings of both rage and sorrow in me. Each one is tragic and awful, and there have been far too many of them in recent years," von Oy writes in an essay published on People. "But Friday's massacre in Newtown has affected me in a profoundly personal way, as I have a unique perspective on the town ... I am blessed to have grown up there."
She continues, "As I watched President Obama's press conference, I sobbed as he mentioned that the children who died had their whole lives ahead of them: graduations, weddings, having children of their own. I have celebrated every one of those milestones in Newtown. ... It is nearly impossible to unscramble my thoughts and put them to paper at a time like this, but I wanted to express my love and support for the town that has given me so many wonderful memories."
Von Oy writes that she was married in Newtown and even returned recently to have her daughter baptized at the same church Obama held the Dec. 16 candlelight vigil at, but wants to clarify that her essay isn't supposed to be about her.
"I hope my intent isn't misunderstood here; this is not about me. This is about a peaceful, beautiful, wonderful place I've called home since my childhood; I am feeling very protective of it after Friday's crisis. This is about the people who are left to pick up the pieces after an unfathomable hardship," von Oy writes. "I grieve for the parents who lost their beautiful, innocent babies; some of them were friends from high school. My heart hurts for the families who have to explain this loss to the frightened children they brought home."
She concludes, "There aren't enough prayers to ease their pain, but I'm giving it all I've got, regardless. It is all I have to give, and I hope you'll join me. Beyond that, there are no words."
Von Oy later wrote more about her reaction to the tragedy, tweeting while watching the broadcast of Obama's visit to her town, "Watching the vigil take place at my high school auditorium tonight, & it's incredibly surreal. Lots of heartfelt prayers going up right now."