Monday, April 20, 2009

Columbine Remembered

I know it's not a typical topic for public forum, but today marks the 10 year anniversary of the Columbine high school shootings. The events of that day have been on my mind as I have watched the days of April fly by. We all can remember where we were and what we were doing on September 11th. I can also replay April 20, 1999 with almost the same clarity. Watching the events of that day unfold changed me forever. It was the first time I realized how devastatingly cruel people could be to each other, and a piece of that innocence that accompanies youth slipped away. I was running for student government and spent night crying as I listened to first hand news accounts and colored campaign posters - such stark contrasts between the respective realities of Columbine and Clayton Valley.

I would have been a good study participant then in vicarious grief processing- filling an entire journal in the month that followed Columbine. In that journal, an angsty 15-year-old filled the pages with probing questions about why people hurt each other and why God could let something happen to good people like Cassie Bernal. The angsty teenager has been replaced by the introspective adult. I still shudder when someone refers to the lock on my classroom door as a Columbine lock - the type of lock installed on most school doors in recent years so that teachers can lock them from the inside instead of having to open the door to lock it- something that cost lives at Columbine. And I think about my kids - the 174 that I have this year and all that they're capable of - and the kids who lost their lives in a matter of minutes. I can't fathom it on any level what it would be like to experience that.

I have no great moment of clarity or summation to accompany this memory and my past few days of pondering. It is what it is, and I just needed to write it down. I needed to say that I remember, and that I pay closer attention to my students has individuals because of what happened that fateful day.


JacksonFamily said...

Hello my fellow blogger! It was fun to skim through your blog! Congratulations on receiving your endowments! I'm so happy for you. You look fabulous by the way!

Katie said...

As I watched the news a few days ago a rush of emotions came over me as well. My niece, Debbie's oldest, Madison was born on March 22, 1999 and was blessed the weekend after Columbine, in Colorado. We went to Columbine and walked around all the memorials, etc. I still remember everything I saw, VIVIDLY, and it made me soo sad to watch the news. I agree with everything you said. Just wrong!