Certainly no one can imagine the nightmare that the family of little Caleigh Ann Harrison is facing as the search for the Gloucester 2-year-old continues around and off Long Beach and beyond.
Indeed, little Caleigh's disappearance last Thursday capsulizes every parent's worst fear — especially since, by all counts, Caleigh's mom, Allison Hammond, had turned her attention only for perhaps a minute from Caleigh and her 4-year-old sister, Elizabeth, to retrieve a ball that had gone over a nearby wall.
Yet it's also impossible to ignore how — in the face of this crisis — the larger community of Gloucester and Rockport have indeed pulled together as part of a larger family of its own, with residents joining a Friday night vigil on the beach, and offering to assist in the search wherever and whenever possible. Indeed, while a Coast Guard cutter patrolled farther offshore last Thursday and Friday, and while State Police helicopters circled overhead, one of the most impressive sights off the beach was the impromptu presence of local fishermen, who joined in the water search for the little girl whose plight has galvanized the entire region.
Our hearts and best hopes all go out to Caleigh's family during this trying time. But may they at least find some comfort in the assurance that our entire community sees Caleigh as part of our much larger family, too — and has her in every thought and prayer.