Monday, April 20, 2009

Remembering Columbine

10 years ago today, April 20th 1999, the actions of two high school boys, shocked our nation. Two boys perpetrated horrific acts of violence that resulted in the death of 12 students, one teacher and the injuries of 23 other students before the tragedy ended with their suicides. Ranked the fourth deadliest school massacre in the United States, Columbine High School is remembered this day.

10 years ago today, I was a high school senior in Colorado, not too far from Columbine H.S. I was at home that Tuesday and remember receiving the phone call from a friend that something had happened and I had better turn on my TV. I did just that, and watched in horror as students my age ran from their high school, leaving others behind whose names would be remembered forever. I remember feeling for the first time, that my little safety bubble had been burst. I realized the reality that is our world in a completely different light than I had ever before. I recall to this day, participating in concert competitions at Columbine High School. I remember walking the same halls shown on TV and I remember sitting in that cafeteria and the library during a debate competition. In fact, I remember having met one of the killers briefly during that debate competition. I will never forget that face.

As today is a day of remembrance, it is also a day of great grief for those who buried their loved ones ten years ago. It is a day when we continue to reflect on humanity and wonder if we've really come that far at all? Our country has seen many more tragedies since that day like 9/11 and the Virgina Tech shootings, just to name a few. I know many are praying for the families of the students and the teacher who were lost. I can't help but wonder though, if anyone is praying for the families of the shooters? I know its hard to wrap our heads around such a thing sometimes, but did they not also loose their sons? Their babies? Are they not living every day with the guilt of what their son's did? I cannot imagine a greater burden.

As I remember that day and the days that followed, I pray for all who suffered. As I can recall the funerals that were televised, the agony on the faces of the parents, the flag at half staff, the endless array of columbines seen everywhere, even the dedication page at the end of my senior year book, I pray. I pray that no other parent ever has to suffer that way again. I pray that we can overcome the evils that lurk within all of us to avoid such tragedy in the future. I pray that we can learn to live out of love and not out of selfishness and hate. I pray that the families have found forgiveness in their hearts and that the families of the killers have been able to forgive themselves for the guilt they have adopted. I pray that as a parent, I never have to see my child's school on TV and wonder if they're alive. I just pray that we never forget our past so that we can avoid repeating it in our future. Our world needs healing. May we all pray for that, each and every day.

1 comment:

summernicole said...

I just finished watching the speeches from the memorial that took place today. I will be honest, I cried many tears today watching those speeches just as I did 10 years ago watching this unfold on television. It seems so unreal that 10 years have passed. You and I both knew Columbine, we had both been inside that school, that made the tragedy even worse for us. What we saw unfolding on television that day was a place we were both familiar with. I know that day I knew students inside that school and have met more since then. Hearing there stories of huddling together in classrooms sends chills down my spine. You and I both attended high school with a girl who lost her boyfriend that horrific day. So many things made April 20th 1999 hit too close to home. I was a freshman in college that year and my roommate and I couldn't pick ourselves up off the couch for a day and a half. We did not attend classes for that time, we were both so shaken up by what had hit so close to home.
I am so proud of the way the Columbine community has picked itself up. They are an example to the world of what love can really do. They refused to let this tragedy define their lives, instead they used a chance to grow closer and learn and carry on in the spirit of each of the amazing lives that were lost that day.
I pray for each of their families, especially on the anniversaries as those days tend to rip open the wounds all over again.
I also pray for the parents of those teenage gunman, that had to be a parents worst nightmare. Not only did they lose their child but it was their child's horrific act that caused so many more deaths, I don't know how one could even begin to move past that.
Just as I pray for each of the amazing lives that were lost that day I pray that the gunman themselves have found peace. I do not know what triggered such hate but they were obviously hurting beyond anyone's comprehension. I pray that they have been healed of their earthly hurt and mental anguish.
The families of friends of those killed have showed an amazing resilence, they were able to bring their children's spirit to life so that the rest of may remember. They were also the first to offer forgiveness and peace towards the wrong doing that struck their loved one's that day.
I think we can all learn from how these families and friends have acted in the face of unimaginable tragedy, they are nothing short of an inspiration to me.

Related Posts with Thumbnails