Columbine memorial in works

Published June 17, 2006

LITTLETON, Colo. - Seven years after the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, hundreds of people gathered Friday for the ceremonial groundbreaking of a memorial honoring the 13 people slain at Columbine High School.

"We're here because we love them. We're here to honor them. We're here to remember them, this day and every day hereafter," said Dawn Anna, the mother of slain student Lauren Townsend. "We're here as a family and as a community that's been through the darkest of days and is coming through to the light."

Former President Bill Clinton attended the event and said he would donate $50,000 to the $1.5-million project. About $300,000 is still needed to pay for the monument to the 12 students and teacher shot to death by suicidal classmates Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris.

As the crowd huddled under umbrellas through a light rainstorm, Anna read the victims' names and asked that the community never forget April 20, 1999.

"Remember the love? Remember the unity? Not just in this community, but in the nation and throughout the world?" she asked. "Remember the horror? Remember how broken your heart felt, that emptiness, that hollow and helpless feeling, pain seared so deeply that it seemed it never wanted to go away?"

The memorial, she said, will always be a place to reflect how everyone's lives changed because of Columbine - and to better know those who were lost that day.

Construction was delayed because parents worked to raze the library where most of the victims were killed. Then almost two years passed before everyone agreed on the memorial's scope and design.