The picture above was taken in 1999. The hill is known as Rebel Hill and was the location where crosses were erected and many came to pay their respects to those lost. The picture below was taken today and shows what the memorial site looks like.
I visited the newly finished Columbine Memorial site today. It was a somber place. It's located in a huge park where Jake was participating in a cross country meet. In fact, it was the second year of the Dave Sanders Invite. He was the one teacher who perished in the tragedy of Columbine.
There was a lot of people, a lot of noise, a lot of activity. But once you entered the memorial, the noise faded and you felt like you were in a place of reverence and peace. I walked around the inner circle first. This is where the thirteen who died were memorialized in words written by their families. This is where I cried. There were other people crying, too.
I don't see how you could read about the lives of these young people, how much they were loved, their thoughts about loving their God, and their future potential lost, without shedding a tear. It was a very touching tribute and a place to reflect.
The outer circle had plaques with words written by fellow students, teachers, emergency workers, even President Clinton. Again, it was very touching. What happened at Columbine, back in 1999, had a profound impact on me at the time, and ever since. It's when I felt God calling me to work with teens. It's when I realized how challenging it was to be a teenager in today's world.
Visiting the memorial today, again, had an impact on me. It reminded me of those who lost their lives and what those who survived have had to continue to live with. It reminded me that there are hurting kids out there who can make terrible decisions. It reminded me of the heroic actions that can be made by just about anyone who find themselves in the face of adversity.
The last plaque I read before heading to the top of the hill to the lookout was this:
As I sat at the top of the hill and looked out towards the mountains, I thought about this plaque. I think I already became a better person back in 1999 because of Columbine. I think a lot of people did. And I hope more people will. Then the death of these children will not be in vain and their short lives will have stood for something greater than they could have ever dreamed.
link of the day: