RED for Daniel

I’m wearing RED for Daniel today.

Did anyone else feel on the verge of tears all day, too? I felt the weight of sadness and frustration all day, but I also felt elated – and again, teary – at the sight of so many people across the Sunshine Coast wearing red in memory of Daniel Morcombe, and in support of The Morcombe Family and Queensland Police.

I was so touched, I started getting all up in their grills, photographing the people I saw out and about sporting what has become the trademark red for Daniel, who was last seen on the Sunshine Coast wearing a red t-shirt. And I asked some friends to send me pics of themselves in their red kits, too.

Eight long years have passed. Eight long years for Daniel’s parents, Bruce and Denise, his twin brother and older brother not knowing where he is, but resigning themselves to believe the worst.

I know they believed the worst, because they told me themselves when I once interviewed Bruce and Denise Morcombe in my past life as editor of CRIKEY! Magazine for Australia Zoo. I sat across from them, looking them in the eye as they told me they knew in their hearts their son was dead. Oh boy. I had gone into that interview having told myself that under no circumstances was I to cry. I said, “Sally, the last thing these parents need to be doing is comforting you.”

However, when they left I walked back down the hall to the office, where I immediately collapsed at the desk of one of my colleagues. There were no rules anymore, I could cry to her (sorry Kylie!) I just could not believe the things I was actually hearing  come out of their mouths about their own son. Nobody should have to think or say what were saying. We can all imagine it, though, can’t we? Well, as much as we allow ourselves to, which is probably not very much at all, because it is just far too painful.

I couldn’t print most of the information they gave me that day in relation to Daniel’s disappearance. A lot of our readers were children after all, and I was already pushing the boundaries by reporting on seal clubbing and shark finning and the like. So we focused on the incredible work The Morcombes were doing to help other children, who had been victims of crime, and the child safety Foundation Red DVD they had recently released as a free tool for schools and community groups. I still have the copy they gave me, and I’m starting to think it’s about time I sat my 5-year-old son down to watch it.

I learnt a lot from speaking with The Morcombes about child safety. They said the main thing is to relay the importance of trusting your instincts, being aware of your surroundings, but also not to frighten your children. They said children should be able to feel safe in their own neighbourhoods and in other public areas.

Today a 41-year-old man, known only as P7, is having his first court hearing for Daniel’s murder. The other charges he faces are deprivation of liberty, child stealing, indecent treatment of a child under 16 and interfering with a corpse. Read more and watch the press conference here.

One thing I must stress to everyone after seeing a number of comments on Facebook and Twitter today – please, nobody try to find out anything more or put out any further information on this person. The very last thing anyone wants is it being impossible for this man to have a fair trial at this point. If this is the man who took Daniel, (and it appears it is clear cut), it is so important not to jeopardise justice being done at this point. The police will release the information in good time – we need to trust them and remember, aside from The Morcombes themselves, they have invested more than anyone in this case.

I want to extend a sincere thank you to all of the Sunshine Coast, and the rest of Australia, for supporting The Morcombes today and for remembering Daniel. Not because it is my place to thank, or on behalf of anyone, but because this simple gesture of wearing red is showing your heart. And what a beautiful collective heart it is.

Daniel Morcombe Foundations Dates to Remember:

Day for Daniel – October 28

Dance for Daniel – March 2012

Author: Sally T