Two days before the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin took time during her Tuesday broadcast to read a letter one of the victim’s mother wrote to her deceased daughter.
And, at times, Baldwin appeared to cry as she attempted to read through the deeply personal note.
After reporting that congressional Democrats will re-introduce legislation banning high-capacity magazines in an effort to prevent similar tragedies, Baldwin turned to a love letter that Parkland parent Lori Alhadeff recently wrote to her daughter Alyssa, who was 14 years old when she was among the 17 killed during last year’s massacre.
Acknowledging at the outset that she’d likely have a tough time getting through Alhadeff’s entire letter, the CNN became visibly upset, taking a deep breath when a photo of Alyssa was shown on-screen as she recited the mother’s recollection of the last time she saw her child.
After reading a passage in which Lori tells Alyssa that “high-school love is magic” and that she “wanted that for you,” Baldwin had to take a moment as she choked back tears.
“I want to get through this because these words matter,” she told her audience.
Baldwin continued on through the rest of the letter, her voice shaking, eventually becoming visibly moved when Alhadeff wrote: “Oh, and I found out about the time you jumped off a bridge down by the beach?! Alyssa, you jumped off a bridge?! There are things I do in your memory that I never thought I could or would ever do. See, a mother’s protective instincts don’t leave when we lose the ones we love.”
The letter was published as part of the Dear World project, and ended with the grief-stricken mother saying she wishes she “could take all the bullets” for her daughter. In the year since the Parkland shooting, roughly 1,200 American children have died from gun violence, according to a joint report from The Trace, Miami Herald, and McClatchy News.