Nearly a month later, the memories of that April 29 event feel distant for Sanchez, a 42-year-old mother of two who works at a local beauty school.
Grief and frustration have set in, and prayers have replaced the laughter that once echoed throughout the venue that sits on the edge of a town 80 miles west of San Antonio. Since Tuesday, residents have gathered daily to mourn after sorrow burst into what feels like nearly every household in this town of about 16,000 people.
In downtown Uvalde, two of the longest federal highways in America — US Highway 83 and US 90 — intersect just like the feelings of many families this week. In one corner, portraits of high school seniors line the lawn outside City Hall. At another corner, flowers were placed next to white crosses bearing the names of each of Tuesday’s 21 victims along the town square’s fountain.
“This was something that should have never happened,” Sanchez said. “Our prayers are with everyone because everywhere I go, everyone was affected whether you had a child in there or not. If you didn’t there’s guilt because you get to go home and feel happy with your family when you know that they’re never going to be the same.”
‘We run in packs’
Wearing maroon-colored clothing in Uvalde is not unusual. But the amount of people wearing the city’s colors has multiplied over the week and taken on new meaning.
For decades, parents, abuelas and children have filled the stands at the Honey Bowl Stadium every fall to cheer for the Uvalde Coyotes during Friday night football games. After farmers and ranchers return home from the fields and many businesses shut down, residents routinely make their way to the stadium to watch one of their favorite pastimes.
As Uvalde attempts to find solace after Tuesday’s shooting, Marie Alice Ramos says there was nothing she could tell her friends or family that would make them feel better. Wearing her maroon T-shirt, she says, signaled something beyond words.
“It’s a statement. It shows that we are trying to be unified as one in a community that has been devastated,” the 45-year-old bartender said after she and a group of family members, all wearing maroon, stood near Robb Elementary late Wednesday.
“We run in packs. Coyotes run in packs,” one of her cousins, Jessica Ahoyt, who was standing next to her said while embracing her daughter.
Ahoyt’s daughter then added, “Once a Coyote, always a Coyote.”
Ramos’ cousin Irma Garcia, one of the teachers killed in the shooting, was a Uvalde High Coyote 30 years ago.
The words “Howling’ thru ’92,” and an image of a coyote …….