|Thousands came to get their first look
at the long-awaited memorial that commemorates the lives of
the thirteen victims who were killed at Columbine High School
A beautiful, sunny day greeted visitors from all around who
gathered to witness the dedication of the memorial that underwent
several design changes and endured delays due to funding challenges.
Additional donations followed the groundbreaking a year earlier
when President Bill Clinton, who contributed over a hundred
thousand dollars, injected new
| momentum toward its completion.
Although scaled-back some, the finished Colorado monument and the
event itself brought tears of relief and reflection for many.
The unveiling began with a ceremony that was highlighted with speeches
by Dawn Anna, mother of victim Lauren Townsend, Columbine survivor
Patrick Ireland, Robert Easton, chairman of the Columbine
Memorial Committee, and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, along
with others in the Columbine community who performed and spoke.
Tears punctuated Easton's address as he stated "What is important
here is the simple question of why we are here. Why build a memorial?
And the simple answer, from my perspective, is that the Columbine
community needs this memorial...We're gathered because the American
spirit is alive and well in our community."
"This memorial reaches out to usthey
reach out to us," Anna said. "Come rest, ease your burdens...remember."
Thirteen purple balloons were released as each of the names of the
those killed were read by Anna. Immediately prior to the victim's
families first look at the new memorial, 213 doves were released
for those killed and who were injured or significantly affected
by the tragedy.
The circular memorial was built at the base of the famous mound
of humble earth named "Rebel Hill" that once bore the
iconic thirteen wooden crosses, immediately west of Columbine High
School. The focal point of the memorial is a large ring of 13 immense
granite panels for each of the victims that commemorate them with
inscriptions authored by their families, some containing the words
of the victims themselves from their personal writings such as Kelly
Flemming and Rachel Joy Scott.
An outer wall made of native flagstone surrounds the memorial and
contains 31 granite panels that are engraved with various quotes
from Columbine High School students and the community.
Near the entrance is a walkway that circles the perimeter of the
memorial and climbs to a overlook that provides an awe-inspiring
view of the memorial below, the front range looking westward, and
eastward, a view of Columbine High School and the surrounding Littleton
Completion of the memorial is a major milestone for the Columbine
community that will provide the opportunity for continued healing
and reflection for many years to come. It is the only major "spontaneous",
modern-day memorial of its kind in the area, the closest one like
it in Oklahoma City that honors those lost in the bombing of the
Mura Federal Building in the mid-nineties.
Donations from thousands of companies, organizations and individuals
made the memorial possible through their generous support. The Columbine
Memorial Committee raised over 1.6 million dollars and acquired
over $400,000 in in-kind materials and services. Construction began
on the memorial in June 2006 and was designed by DHM
Design in Denver who also designed the WWII Memorial in Trenton,
New Jersey and Mount Rushmore.
by Michael Tamburello - ©2007 Tamburello Media Group