VIDEO: Family of Sandy Hook Victim Daniel Barden Marks Third Anniversary of His Death With Emotional Look Back at His Too-Short Life
The Barden family has since dedicated their lives to preventing gun violence
The family of Daniel Barden, who was seven years old when he was shot and killed exactly three years ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School, honored his memory when they posted an emotional video this morning.
The four-minute video is an emotional montage of photographs of a happy and innocent child, and includes the song, “So Small,” by Carrie Underwood, Hillary Lindsay and Luke Laird. It appears on the “What Would Daniel Do?” Facebook page, dedicated to “honoring Daniel’s memory by living life the way Daniel did: by reaching out to those who appear lonely, performing acts of kindness, having compassion, and by living each day to the fullest.”
Daniel’s father, Mark Barden, along with Nicole Hockley, who lost her son Dylan in the attack that killed 26 people, are founders and managing directors of Sandy Hook Promise, an activist group they formed with other parents in the aftermath of the 2012 tragedy in which 26 people were killed.
Barden and Hockley have dedicated their lives since to educating students teachers and parents on what they can do to prevent another school shooting. The passion and fierce grief for their boys that drives their mission came through in a message on Twitter from Hockley on Monday morning: “I will never stop. Life and love are worth more. I love and miss you Dylan – and I PROMISE I will never stop. #sandyhook #ProtectOurKids”
In a recent interview with PEOPLE, Mark says he struggles every day with the loss of his son. “It s always constantly in my mind,” he says. “It’s just constant torment that my little boy is gone and there’s no escaping that.”
Mark visits schools to discuss violence prevention, and always carries a photo of Daniel.
The students “have to have something relatable,” he says. “This was my little boy, this was a little person and you need to know who he was – not just a number or a statistic as part of this epidemic, but this was my little Daniel and you need to know a little bit about him.”
On the What Would Daniel Do website, Daniel is described as a child who “understood things about life in a way that prompted many who knew him to call him ‘an old soul.'”
The website shares a touching anecdote about a child with special needs in Daniel’s class who he went out of his way to speak with. “I know she can’t talk, but I know she can hear me,” Daniel said.
The next year, they were placed in the same class.
• With reporting by SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL