Remembering the victims of the Uvalde elementary school shooting

May 25, 2022, 10:27 PM | Updated: May 26, 2022, 5:25 am

SALT LAKE CITY — These are the days Ata Liufau has spent decades working hard to get to.

“Well, I ain’t no professional that’s for sure,” he said with a laugh.

However, it’s not so much how well he strikes the ball on the billiards table.

It’s more about the time he spends with his buddies.

“It’s a lot of relief to get together with the friends and just have a great time,” he said.

Liufau is 70 years old and loves playing pool at the Provo Recreation Center.

He says coming out as often as he can not only gives him something to look forward to, but it also keeps him feeling young.

“Everybody is cracking up. Everybody is laughing. Everybody is making fun of each other’s shots,” he said with another laugh.

However, after hearing about what happened in Texas Tuesday morning, even this senior citizen felt old.

“We see kids, they’re like our children,” said Liufau. “It’s so sad in our own eyes to see. You wish you could do something, but you can’t.”

What he’s feeling is what most of us are feeling.

The first pictures of the victims from the Texas school shootings are starting to come out.

Seeing them is crushing.

These little, innocent, smiling faces, like Uziyah Garcia.

He loved playing football.

Now, like his classmates who were killed, he’ll never grow old with his buddies.

“Go to high school, go to college, have goals. And what now? That’s gone. It’s horrible,” said Liufau.

That’s the part that is affecting him, and many of us, the most.

Kids like Alithia Ramirez, who had just turned 10-years old and her birthday balloons still up in her house, was full of life and dreams one day, only memories the next.

“It is sad,” said Liufau.

For as much as Liufau has enjoyed growing old and raising his own family, he can’t stop thinking about the parents of those sweet little smiling faces.

Children like Eliahana Cruz-Torres, who loved softball.

Liufau knows funerals have to be planned in the dark days ahead.

“The only thing you can do is hopefully pray that God may be able to help some of these people that are suffering,” he said. “There are a lot of parents suffering right now.”

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Remembering the victims of the Uvalde elementary school shooting