10/16/17, Vegasstrong

Hi Everyone,
 

Last week’s blog about the tragic events in Las Vegas merits a follow up. And I hope that all is well with you!!!

I’ve only been in Las Vegas 3 times in my life, and although I’m not a gambler, I had a good time there every time. In fact, the last time I went, I went with my Godchildren from France (aged 3, 6, and 9 at the time) and their parents, and was wondering what we’d find to do with children there, and I was amazed to find that there was lots to do with kids (two hotels with indoor roller coasters, and a wonderful pool at our hotel). And we had a great time.

By a very odd coincidence, while trying to figure out what to do to celebrate one of my daughters’ birthday this year, she decided 6 months ago that she wanted to go to Las Vegas with the whole family, or as many as we could gather. It’s an odd destination for us, but it sounded like fun to everyone, and a great excuse to get together. We originally booked it for the last weekend in September, and then found it wasn’t convenient for my daughters coming from New York and Paris, so we switched it to the following weekend. If we hadn’t, we would have been in Vegas for the fateful weekend.
Like the rest of the world, we were shocked and devastated by news of the tragedy on that Monday, and seriously considered cancelling the trip. Somewhat out of fear of copy cats, but more than anything out of respect for those who had lost their lives and been injured. It seemed like a sad time to go there, and we discussed cancelling and postponing it. But no one could reschedule (we’re a big group to coordinate, coming from many different cities, everyone with busy lives), my daughter was disappointed to lose her family birthday celebration, so we decided to stick to our plans and went to Las Vegas, the weekend immediately after the tragic shooting. We were all a little hesitant about going, and in the end we were glad we went. What we found there was a brave, dignified city, fully paying their respects to all of those affected, while warmly welcoming tourists coming to their town. There was a huge memorial with flowers, at the location of the shooting, (the stage was still set up and dark, as part of the crime scene and investigation, which was sad to see), and billboards everywhere, honoring the dead and injured and their families, and a phone number for counselling. The city was quieter than I have seen it in my previous visits, and even though it was a holiday weekend, it wasn’t as crowded as one would expect. We were hesitant about going, and felt awkward celebrating a birthday while others were mourning, except that it was a very tender, quiet, respectful poignant time. We went to two shows while we were there, which we had tickets for, for many months, and at both shows they stopped the show at one point to speak about what had happened and offer their sympathy to all of those affected. If there is a gracious way to handle such shocking events, I thought that the city of Las Vegas did a noble job of it. And everywhere were signs that said “Vegasstrong”. Indeed they are, to come through such a terrible event, and still try to keep things balanced and running smoothly, and be gracious to people who came to visit so soon after.

We stayed at the Wynn Hotel, which was terrific, and I was honored to meet Mr. Wynn himself for the second time, an extraordinarily nice man with a lovely wife. He made a point of welcoming us, which was an honor. And we thoroughly enjoyed the hotel. None of us are really gamblers, but we spent some time in the casino one night, I put a 20 dollar bill into a slot machine, and I must have hit the luckiest slot machine in the house. I played for 4 hours on the same machine, and it gave me back enough money to keep me playing for hours. I had great fun doing it, while the others in our group did the same for a while, and then went to have drinks (and laughed at me glued to my slot machine, and I went home with $300.) Far more dangerous than the gambling tables for me is the shopping in Las Vegas. WOW!!! The Wynn and its sister hotel the Encore have fabulous esplanades with gorgeous shops. We went to two shopping Malls, the Crystals, and Fashion Show Plaza. We had an excellent dinner at the Encore, with a light and water show, eating outdoors, and a Mexican restaurant the second night. And we went to two of the famous Vegas shows. We had planned to see Jennifer Lopez, who cancelled, in honor of those who had died and were injured. And instead we saw Criss Angel, an extraordinary magic show, and we saw the very impressive Michael Jackson Show of the Cirque du Soleil, which was dazzling. There were images of Michael Jackson dancing on screens, and it made me intensely sad watching his incredible talent, and knowing that he is a bright light no longer here. Another tragic loss.

There were many quiet sobering moments while we were there, thinking of what had happened. And the best part of the trip for us was our family being together for a special weekend, honoring my daughter. But instead of feeling odd or wrong for being in Vegas, we all agreed that there was something very touching about being there, knowing what had happened, and feeling the solidarity of the city, who will rise from this tragedy, with tender memories of those lost, but a tremendous feeling of strength that they will not be daunted or destroyed by this event. They are exactly what they say: Vegasstrong. I came away with a huge feeling of respect for them, and renewed sympathy for those whose lives were lost, or were injured.

It was a very special weekend, for many reasons, and we were all glad we went. Our hearts are with you, Las Vegas…..We mourn your losses with you, and celebrate your dignity and your strength!!! Vegasstrong!!!

love, Danielle

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8 Comments so far
  1. Lorraine October 17, 2017 12:54 pm

    Danielle,

    This was such an interesting article from you! I’m truly glad your family was not there the weekend of the tragedy. I’m also glad you were able to have a special time with your family, although not in the way you planned it. It sounds like your family was very humbled by everything.
    Thank you for sharing this with us. May you and yours always stay safe.

    Love,
    Lorraine

  2. Dianne October 20, 2017 3:11 pm

    Danielle, My absolute all time favorite DS is COUNTRY…I read and read again when I need a wonderful escape…I give this book time and attention that I have given few others…which begs the question…You have really only been to Las Vegas three times?…From your knowledge and understanding…from your ability to define the culture, I thought this was a DS haunt…Thank you for writing this wonderful, delightful escape that has my love and all-time interest…

    I am so happy that you and tribe celebrated in LV at a time when they needed others…I know it was a special time all around…

    “You know what they say. Carpe diem. Seize the day. We only get one day at a time…we have to make the best of it. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Today is all we’ve got.” (Chase to Stevie)

    Best,
    Dianne

  3. Ma josefina October 21, 2017 7:57 am

    Congratulations
    I like you have a wonderful time with your kids
    I love your novels
    Now I am reading The Duchess
    Love for you💕💕💕💕😘😘😘😘

  4. Holli A. October 21, 2017 8:35 am

    I have co-workers on our NV team who live in Vegas, and who knew a few of those who were shot (but survived), and were deeply affected. My company also has an annual meeting there every year, most years we are at Wynn/Encore, it’s my favorite. I think you captured the essence of what happened there, and the spirit of the Vegas people, so well.

  5. DeEtte Greene October 21, 2017 9:28 am

    Being a resident of Las Vegas I wanted to thank you & your family for keeping your plans to visit us, this is what we need, people to keep coming and see what a wonderful, caring city that we are. So many don’t understand that we aren’t all glitz & glamor and we have big hearts, in other words we are more than “the strip “. We live regular lives like in any other city and we care deeply.
    So glad that your family was able Rio enjoy your visit.

  6. Janice Frittelli October 21, 2017 9:54 am

    You and your beautiful family honoured the people who lost their lives by still spending time in Vegas and your blog is special. May all the people who lost their lives, rest in eternal peace and happiness forever. Pray that God grants strength to their family and friends and all the people of USA. May peace flood the entire earth one day SOON. Blessings to all.

  7. Lynn Pagac October 21, 2017 10:16 am

    Dear Danielle,

    I am impressed and moved by you and your family’s courage to carry out your birthday celebration plans. While it may have been awkward at first, I’m sure your presence had great meaning for all of the Vegas residents and others who are in mourning.
    You and family are truly role models for the importance of showing support at a very sad time and what it means to live our lives to the fullest as we move forward.
    I’m a solid fan and pick up each new book the day it comes out. But the one I treasure and hold close to my heart the most is your story of your beloved Nick. Your story of Nick inspired me to move on after my own son took his life, and that book of yours is one that saved me.

    With love and respect,
    Lynn

  8. Eileen Travis October 21, 2017 1:53 pm

    You went there for a special reason. I am so glad you had an a wonderful time with all your family .Family is very important to me always has been .We always get together . The time just spending time in this busy world. Thank you for sharing such a special time with me.Your a great writer. Love and best wishes to you and your family God Bless you for caring for the lives that have that were taken so terrible thing to have happened.
    Love, Eileen