Community members in suburban Denver marked the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting Saturday with a remembrance ceremony that celebrated the school's survival and by volunteering at shelters, doing neighborhood cleanup projects, and laying flowers and cards at a memorial to the 13 people killed, the AP reports. "We're changed," Dawn Anna, whose daughter Lauren Townsend was among the students killed in the school's library, said before a crowd of more than 2,000 gathered in a park near the high school. "We're weaker in some places, but hopefully we're stronger in most of them. Our hearts have giant holes in them. But our hearts are bigger than they were 20 years ago." The events ended a three-day slate of somber gatherings honoring the victims, their families, and survivors of the April 20, 1999, shooting.
Speakers on Saturday portrayed healing and recovery as the result of daily work—not a destination to be arrived at in a set amount of days, weeks or years. Forgiveness, though, is achievable, said Patrick Ireland, a student who became known as "the boy in the window" when cameras captured him dangling from a second-story window before falling during the 1999 school shooting. He re-learned to walk and talk with months of physical and cognitive therapy. "Our innocence was stolen," Ireland said. "How can that ever be repaid? But forgiveness is a process." There were tears too, particularly when photos of the victims were shown on a projector. At times, the afternoon ceremony had the feel of a reunion. "We are" Ivory Moore yelled, his voice straining. "Columbine!" the crowd replied, some pumping their fists in the air.
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