The father of a Virginia TV journalist who was shot to death during a live report one year ago marked the anniversary of the tragedy Friday with an emotional essay, pledging to keep fighting for gun reform in the name of his “fierce” daughter.
Alison Parker, a 24-year-old news reporter for WDBJ, and her 27-year-old cameraman Adam Ward were killed last year after a disgruntled former employee of the crew’s TV station opened fire on the two during a live broadcast outside Roanoke, Va.
“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to get that call that your child has been killed,” Parker’s father, Andy Parker, wrote in an op-ed published Friday in the New York Daily News. “That’s what happened a year ago when my daughter Alison was murdered on live television. The world I knew before that day ended.”
Since the fatal shooting, Alison Parker’s parents have become vocal advocates waging a campaign for gun control legislation. The news reporter’s father recalled how his grief turned to anger, which then turned into a “rallying cry” for an end to gun violence.
“Not a single day goes by that we don’t feel the devastation and void in our souls. It’s the ‘new normal’ for lives that will never be the same,” he wrote.
Andy Parker added that while change has happened since his daughter’s death, his “conviction won’t waver” in his attempts to secure legislation. “Alison was a fierce competitor. She hated to lose and she got that fire from me,” he said. “The needle has moved, and I’m not going to lose this fight. I’m Alison’s dad.”
Meanwhile, the TV news station remembered Ward and Alison Parker Friday with an on-air moment of silence that lasted nearly two minutes and included a photo montage showing the silly and serious sides of the beloved former employees.
“Our hearts are heavy today,” a WDBJ anchor told viewers. “A year has passed and there’s been some healing, but there will never be complete healing ever. We miss them every single day.”