Flags lowered on 10th anniversary of Columbine
April 20, 2009
DENVER ” Flags flew at half-staff over the Colorado Capitol and other government buildings on Monday, the 10th anniversary of day when 12 students and a teacher were shot to death at Columbine High School.
A memorial service was planned Monday night in Clement Park adjacent to the school in the south Denver suburbs, and a “lie-in” to push the case for gun control was planned at the Capitol.
Gov. Bill Ritter planned to address the Legislature and lawmakers readied a resolution titled “Triumph Over Tragedy” to mark the occasion.
Two seniors at Columbine unleashed an attack with guns and pipe bombs on the morning of April 20, 1999. A bigger bomb, which they hoped would destroy the crowded cafeteria, failed to go off.
Killed were students Cassie Bernall, 17; Steven Curnow, 14; Corey DePooter, 17; Kelly Fleming, 16; Matthew Kechter, 16; Daniel Mauser, 15; Daniel Rohrbough, 15; Rachel Scott, 17; Isaiah Shoels, 18; John Tomlin, 16; Lauren Townsend, 18; and Kyle Velasquez, 16; and teacher William “Dave” Sanders, 47. All were shot to death.
The gunmen, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, committed suicide.
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Oprah Winfrey canceled an episode of her talk show scheduled to air Monday, “10 Years Later: The Truth about Columbine,” saying it focused too much on the killers.
Winfrey posted a message Monday morning on her Facebook page, saying that after she reviewed the taped show. She urged viewers to keep the Columbine community in their thoughts.
Winfrey’s company, Harpo Productions confirmed the announcement.
At the gun-control demonstration, 13 people representing the victims planned to lie on the lawn at the west steps of the Capitol while 23 others representing the injured encircled them.
Tom Mauser, father of victim Daniel Mauser, was scheduled to speak.
The evening service was scheduled in an amphitheater overlooking a lake with expansive views of the mountains and foothills to the west.
On Sunday, hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil at the Columbine Memorial in Clement Park.
The memorial is a broad oval nestled into a hill that overlooks the school. An outer wall includes a fountain and quotes from survivors. A smaller inner circle includes tablets devoted to each of the 13 victims and inscriptions written by their families.
On Sunday night, wildflowers or florists’ bouquets lay on each tablet or on the paving stones below.
Denise Rucks, who was teaching at Chapparal High School in nearby Douglas on the day of the shootings, said she felt a sense of peace at the memorial Sunday.
“You get so many different memories, both as a parent ” you look at it from that perspective ” (and) as a teacher,” said Rucks, 53. “What if it had happened at my school? Would I have been able to protect my students?”