Once Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day festivities fade out, the city of Aurora faces a very tough anniversary.

It was five years ago today that five employees were killed after a disgruntled worker opened fire inside the Henry Pratt Company. Five Aurora police officers were injured. Aurora was thrown into the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Today, we remember the victims:

Clayton Parks of Elgin. Parks was a relatively new Human Resources Manager, just hired in November of last year.

Trevor Wehner of DeKalb. Wehner was also new to Henry Pratt Co. As a matter of fact, Friday was his first day. A Northern Illinois University student, Wehner was a human resources intern.

Russell Beyer of Yorkville worked at Henry Pratt Co for more than 20 years Beyer was a mold operator and the union charman.

Vicente Juarez of Oswego was a forklift operator for Henry Pratt since 2006. Juarez is known as a hard-working family man.

Josh Pinkard of Oswego was the Plant Manager. He worked for the company for 13 years, mostly at another location, and hadn’t even been at the aurora plant for a year. Pinkard was a 37-year-old father of three.

In the days following the Henry Pratt shooting Aurora did what it always does and always will do. It stepped up to help those who needed it. Whether you offered prayers, a shoulder, an ear, a kind word or money to help these families rebuild, it was another reminder of how great the people of this area are when the rubber meets the road.

At the radio station, we gave updates, we scrambled to see what we would do. One week later we held a 13-hour live broadcast dubbed “The Heroes Radiothon” at Luigis, the site of the center of the police response to the shooting, to raise money and spirits for the families effected. It was a day I’ll never forget filled with incredibly touching moments that showed the humanity of everyone involved.

Like when Gina Ruzika sang Amazing Grace.

Or when a 10-year-old started the SWAG group at school (Students Who Are Great) and raised money selling Aurora Strong t-shirts?

Or the time someone dropped a $1,000 tip during a fundraiser at Gillerson’s in downtown Aurora?

Or this powerful moment when Mitch Michaels talked with the daughter of Vicente Juarez.

The Aurora Strong movement was, and is, an amazing showing of a community coming together to care for their own and I was damn proud to play a small roll. We raised about $6,000. Ballydoyle held a huge fundraiser that raised close to $100K. Restaurant tip jars and collection plates across the area were filled to the brim to help out these five families, and it’s nearly impossible to put a number on it all. But really, that number doesn’t matter. What matters is that in spite of our differences, when it comes down to it, we help our own. We have each others’ back.

Let this be a reminder that the state of our society, while frustrating at times, really isn’t that bad after all.

An In Memoriam ceremony will take place today at the Aurora Historical Society and will be live streamed on the city’s Facebook page.

In reaction to the tragedy, Aurora’s poet laureate Karen Fullett-Christensen wrote these words:

We can remember
because we are Aurora Strong
because we are community
We can ponder
what paths these five might still be on
if they had lived
What love they might have brought to others
what light to shine on our fair town
what gifts their minds might have revealed
Their work unfinished
what great plans, great hopes, great dreams
would have brought great praise, renown
We can imagine, we can mourn
we can keep their names alive
we can remember