First, I pray for the parents of the children killed by gunfire in Newtown, Connecticut.

Being born and raised in Connecticut and as a father, grandfather, and a one-time volunteer firefighter, I cannot imagine losing a loved one until it hits in our own home and community. The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time of the year, but the horror we read and see in the media makes you wonder.

Singer-songwriter John Lennon, who was killed by gunfire, wrote "Merry Christmas, The War Is Over." Well, John, the war is not over yet, not in this country.

Merry Christmas everyone, and give peace a chance.

KENT MACKENZIE

Pittsfield