In South Florida, Valentine’s Day tugs at the heart.

On Feb. 14, 2018, a mentally disturbed teen walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland and shot 34 students and staff, killing 17 and forever scarring a community.

The school’s student survivors found passion in their grief, and two years later they have made a difference in the nation’s view of gun violence, not letting go on their anger and putting it to good use.

Days after the shooting, the students transformed into ardent anti-gun activists and demanded change in Tallahassee and Washington that would prevent mass shootings across the country.

Shattered and on fire, they headed to the state’s Capitol and confronted Florida lawmakers.

Then-Gov. Rick Scott signed a gun-safety bill on March 9 that raised the age for all gun purchases from 18 to 21, created a three-day waiting period for most firearm purchases, banned bump stocks and created a program to arm and train school faculty.

And students took to the streets of Washington, D.C., to put on the March For Our Lives, make impassioned pleas for reform and declare, “Never Again.”

Gun safety advocates say other states followed suit. The Parkland influence spread across the country: Last year, 67 new gun laws were enacted by both Republican and Democratic legislators in 26 states and Washington, D.C.

It’s no surprise that little has been accomplished on the federal level, but NRA-cowed lawmakers in Congress nevertheless banned gun stocks.

Parents of the students killed have become fervent anti-gun activists, and are keeping the horror of what happened at Parkland alive.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was among the victims, was recently thrown out of President Trump’s State of the Union address for yelling at the president when he failed to address gun control and gun violence in his speech. Guttenberg, a grieving parent on a mission, apologized the next day.

The parents of Joaquin Oliver have made it a mission to keep his voice alive through art. Debbie Hinton, whose husband, Chris, was the school’s athletic director, keeps alive his heroic actions that day. He tried to stop the shooter.

Lori Alhadeff, a former teacher whose daughter Alyssa was killed in the shooting, now is a Broward County School Board member and advocate of school safety.

The task of remembering that awful day in South Florida is arduous, and energizing. The ravages of gun violence continue their spread across South Florida. On Thursday, as the Parkland anniversary approached, mothers from Miami-Dade and Broward who had lost children in less-noticed, but no less tragic, shootings met at the corner of Northwest 179th Street and 24th Avenue in Miami Gardens.

Their children, too, were been killed by gunfire, said Tangela Sears, an anti-gun-violence activist who lost a son in a shooting and who formed the group of grieving mothers who usually meet once a month, told the Herald.

They, too, are in pain. They, too, must be heard. Their voices, too, matter.

On Friday, the cities of Parkland and Coral Springs held events to remember those killed in the mass shooting — including a moment of silence observed at 2:21 p.m., the moment when the shooting began at the school.

And so it should be. The tragedy of Parkland must continue to serve as motivation for addressing gun violence in America.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.