Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Laiken's Legacy

Another one year anniversary. So soon, too soon after Kelly's.
I do know that Laiken just as Kelly did, left a legacy to us.
A legacy to be honored, cherished and held safely in our hearts.
I had a vivid dream the other night about Laiken. She looked amazing, happy, at peace. Laiken send her light to me so I would know that she and Kelly are both okay. Together, free from cancer.
I will wear my Love for Laiken shirt to work tomorrow. I will carry a picture of Laiken with me and will tell everyone who asks me about the legacy of love she left to each of us.
Laiken's Legacy, Love, Light, Courage, x 13, x forever...

Monday, April 20, 2009

We are Columbine

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High school.

I went for a run at lunch time that day when I first heard the news about the shootings. It was incredible to hear this news story unfold. How could this be. Things like this don't happen here.

When something like this happens in your own community it is real. Colleagues of mine had children at Columbine, kids I found out later were in the cafeteria when the shooting started.

Those kids made it out safely that day. Over the years we would hear stories of the colleteral damage caused by the carnage that day.

I wonder if Dave Sanders ever thought for even a split second of fleeing for safety instead of running back towards danger to warn his students at the school. I would like to think I would do the same if ever faced with having to make that decision, but I am not sure I would have the courage to do that.

How many lives did he save with his actions? We will never know, but as a parent I am forever grateful for his selfless actions. Dave was the first responder that day at Columbine.

For days, we would watch the endless stories on CNN and Geraldo Live, watching the same stories repeat endlessly hoping to somehow make sense of this. It never happened. It couldn't.

For weeks afterwards, it rained everyday. The sun didn't come out as if the heavens were weeping for the community, for the families, for Columbine.

Within the community we rallied around one another.

Slowy, for those on the outside of the carnage, we went back to our lives. Those that lived through it had a different path to take.

Now I hear of other shootings, a schoolhouse in Pennyslvania, a school in Germany, Virginia Tech. Distance separates me from the reality, the anguish. I am ashamed that I have let myself become numb to this.

Today as a community we remember Columbine. This is a siginficant anniversary. Next year it will be eleventh anniversary and the focus will not be as keen for me and I fear for others as well.

Please take a moment to read the names of those that were taken away from their families that day.

Cassie Bernall, 17. Active in church youth programs and Bible study groups. Recently visited Britain. Favorite movie was Mel Gibson's ''Braveheart.''

Steven Curnow, 14. A freshman, dreamed of being a Navy top gun and piloting an F-16. Watched ''Star Wars'' movies so often he could recite dialogue. Played soccer as a boy; learned to referee to earn pocket money.

Corey DePooter, 17. Loved to golf, hunt and fish. Former wrestler. Had taken maintenance job at a golf club to save up for a boat with a friend. Good student.

Kelly Fleming, 16. Aspiring songwriter and author. Wrote scores of poems and short stories based on her life experiences. Was learning to play guitar. Had recently moved from Phoenix. Was eager to get her driver's license and part-time job.

Matthew Kechter, 16. A junior, had hoped to start for the football team. Lifted weights. Maintained A average.

Daniel Mauser, 15. A sophomore, excelled in math and science, and earned straight A's on last report card. Ran cross country and joined debate team.

Daniel Rohrbough, 15. Helped in his father's electronics business and worked on family farms in Kansas during the summer. Enjoyed computer games, stereos and home theater systems.

William ''Dave'' Sanders, 47. Columbine teacher for 24 years, including in business and science. Coached girls' basketball and softball. Married, three daughters and 10 grandchildren. Shot twice in chest while directing students down hallway to safety. Survived at least 3 1/2 hours.

Rachel Scott, 17. Played lead in a student-written play, ''Smoke in the Room.'' Active in Celebration Christian Fellowship church. Liked photography. During rampage, younger brother Craig, 16, played dead in library and helped lead others to safety.

Isaiah Shoels, 18. Due to graduate in May. Suffered health problems as a child and had heart surgery twice. Wanted to attend an arts college and become a music executive. Small in stature but lifted weights and played football and wrestled.

John Tomlin, 16. Enjoyed driving off-road in his beat-up Chevy pickup. Worked after school in gardening store and belonged to a church youth group. Went on missionary trip to Mexico and built a house for the poor. Wanted to enlist in the Army.

Lauren Townsend, 18. Captain of girls' varsity volleyball team, coached by her mother. Member of the National Honor Society and candidate for valedictorian. Wanted to major in biology in college.

Kyle Velasquez, 16. Had attended Columbine only three months. Loved computers, the Denver Broncos and dreamed of joining the Navy, as his father had. Devoted to family. Buried with full military honors at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.

These are the names of Columbine.

We are Columbine. We must never forget what happened. I pray for the day where we don't have to relive it.