“Two students, cloaked in black trench coats and armed with guns and bombs, opened fire Tuesday at Columbine High School, killing 15 people and wounding 28 others in the worst school shooting in history.”
This was the opening paragraph to a story in the Denver Post on the Columbine shooting, although it sounds more like an excerpt from a disturbing fictional thriller. In 1999, it was “the worst school shooting in history”. Today it ranks as #4 behind Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Parkland on a leaderboard that no one wants to exist. None of us could imagine the horror that unfolded at Columbine that day, let alone the unthinkable tragedies that have occurred since.
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, creating space for us to pause, reflect and remember. Many survivors - from former students to families that lost children to school administrators - are united not only by their grief but by their hope. They have spent the past 20 years struggling to find a path toward healing. Some became activists, others formed charitable organizations, some published books to share their story. That Tuesday in 1999 forever altered the lives of that community and beyond, but they rise up every day to remind us there is hope - a message they still send two decades later.