Last year on this day, seven militants wearing Pakistan’s military uniform entered Army Public School, Peshawar and brutally butchered 144 students. Pakistan has had a fair share of unfortunate events since its birth in 1947. However, this was the epitome of any brutality faced not only in Pakistan but the world over.

History has witnessed devastating wars that shaped the course of the world. In the process they formulated territorial boundaries that preserved ideas instrumental for ‘future’ expansionist ideologies which, when looked at now, have become history. Thus the cycle in achieving for what was gained/suffered is a continuous never ending loop of more devastation and exhaustion. These historical events are much celebrated because each backlash was balanced with overcoming a milestone. Each war was aged with men, vacating women and children. No war was waged on women and children alone. There were reservations and respect in realizing why was there conflict and who the real enemies were. But no such reservations were made when the Tehreek-e-Taliban launched an attacked on all fronts on a school where children were attending their regular classes.

This is indeed the darkest day in Pakistan’s history, which cannot and should never be forgotten. Pakistanis should look back at it and realize the sacrifices we have to endure in trying to ensure a prosperous country and realize that we are still far from it. Our existence should be rocked to the core and we should be reminded at all times that those were our children who were butchered, who met with no mercy. They were the future on which we aspired to gain our long awaited peace. They were the laughter, sought out for after a long day of work. They were the children who had every right to life; for theirs hadn’t even started yet. They ignited the streets with their youth wherever they went.

Now imagine, for a moment how the streets were plagued with death when small disfigurations, covered in blood, jaws drooping, eyes seeking last sights of mercy and lungs expanding to get last breaths, were pulled out of the horrific building that resembled nothing to a school. The excitement of children was masked by the horrific cries. The boredom of a long chemistry lecture had turned into morbidity of a lifetime. And like the neat row of desks, 130 small coffins were laid down.

Whosoever said that the smallest coffins are the heaviest was indeed right. They were the heaviest to be taken away from the mothers and the heaviest for the fathers to lay down six feet under.

As 16th December approached a small thread in my heart started to untangle the memories of last year. Beat by beat the wound grew fresh and all the worries of the world started to fade away. Today, I am overwhelmed with the woe of those I never knew but for whom my heart only grows fonder. In times like these, and not only such devastating ones, we should stand united and work together for upholding the spirit of Pakistan and work at all fronts in securing every person who inhabits this country.

This is to all the mothers, fathers, friends, relatives and all Pakistanis who lost a lot that day. This is to never forgetting our little martyrs, who left us too soon to have left, whose innocence was taken away too soon.