Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, December 25 2012 at 2:57 PM, Updated: Tue, December 25 2012 at 5:40 PM
This Christmas is tinged with a bit of a somber note. Communities, including our own, are still recovering from recent tragic events in Connecticut and in Oregon.
Christmas is here and shoppers are bustling, but in the midst of all the rush, memories of recent tragedy still linger.
Nearly two weeks ago, a gunman opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school, killing 20 kids and six adults. Before that there was a shooting at a Clackamas mall which killed two people.
"Just makes me want to be around my family more and I feel bad for the people that that happened to," said Ashland resident Charmaine Polizzi.
She isn't alone. Others are also cherishing time with their loved ones a little more this year.
"I'm glad i'm able to call my kids and tell them I love them. You know if i'm not able to spend time with them, at least I can call them and talk to them," said Karrie Belasquez, who is a Medford resident.
The terrible events, making people recall just how fragile life can be this holiday season.
"I have a son, one deploying overseas next week and not getting to go home to see him, it's sad...but i'll make sure [I see him] for sure," said Polizzi.
Meantime, this Christmas in Connecticut has been difficult, but residents are slowly moving forward.
"What we agree we feel here is a lot of peace and love and healing beginning," said Newtown, Connecticut resident Barbara Richards.
Americans on the East Coast and here at home, dealing with tragedy by holding loved ones a bit closer this Christmas.
Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.
Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.
Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.