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A day of celebrating America turned into a day of horror and reflection for many people who talked to the RoundTable Monday.
The RoundTable went to Central Street after the July 4 parade was cancelled as the result of a mass shooting that left six people dead and several dozen injured at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade.
“America doesn’t deserve a parade,” said L.J. Hickman as she sat beneath a tent overlooking the parade route with friends. Catherine Haremski echoed her friend’s words. “I think we have been stripping away the idea of liberty and freedom,” she said. “And yeah, we kind of didn’t deserve a birthday party this year.”
Kristin Klinger invited Hickman, Haremski and others to join her in the tent for the parade. “We were just excited about gathering again after three years just as friends,” said Klinger. So the party – not a celebration, they all agreed – continued. “Better to be miserable together,” she said.
Down the street, Helen Marshall sat at another front-yard party. She wore white for mourning what happened on Monday in Highland Park.
“My first thought was: Not again,” she said. “And I thought: It happened here. And then I thought: Well, how long did you think it was going to take before it happened here? And then I thought: Will this ever end? And then I thought, No. And then I thought: It’s your responsibility to figure out what you’re going to do to help make this stop.
“And my final thought was that the next round of elections. That’s my job. I always vote, make sure that my friends vote and to support candidates who are for gun control.”
Editor’s note: For more of the RoundTable coverage, please see our story on the eyewitness accounts of the shooting, our story on the volunteers who had to shut down the planned parade and the main story on the shooting and how the investigation unfolded.