I have looked for your face every day since the day you vanished. I memorized it. I hoped every day that you were among the living. I never thought you were a lost cause. I haven’t been home to Minnesota for a decade – not for a funeral, not for a wedding, nor a birthday. When your celebration of life is planned, I may pack up my three children make the grueling journey. On the day that your remains were identified, I know where I was.-just as I remember every moment of the agonizing search for you 26 years ago. I was 3 days away from my 12th birthday – basically your age. I feel like you were the September 11th for Minnesota. It opened our eyes and made us take heart in hate and we all knew that the world would ever be the same. I remember how the world changed that day and how it became tinged with evil. I remember how in my gut I knew you may never come home, but have held the hope that you would miraculously return for the last 26 years. Jacob, that day that you left us you didn’t just leave your family, but every family across the United States. Wth you left, you took so many of our hopes with you. Our hopes in small towns and trust in our neighbors. Our ability to let our kids run to the corner store for a movie, to ride their bikes freely on the street -our hopes that the world was somehow inherently good. It was the last day of innocence for the Midwest and you are the child that had to bear the brunt of that evil for the rest of us, so we could all become aware of the evils that face children. I want to show the Wetterlings that we, 26 years later, still held the hope that you would be found alive and that we are as heartbroken as spectators can be – we know that we cannot ever match their grief. Mr. and Mrs. Wetterling please know what am impact you have made in the world and know that Jacob would be so proud and so vindicated by your work. I am so proud to call myself an Minnesotan because of you. I am proud to call myself a mother and parent because of you. I help to never have to gather your strength. That is a press gosh darn crappy consolation in exchange for your son’s life.