15 years later….
Today we remember those young people we lost, those that continue to deal with their struggles from that day, and the entire Columbine community. We have only been though one anniversary and have learned all too well how difficult these days are. We take great strength from those who have shared their stories with us and have helped us to understand what trials and more importantly what great things lay ahead for us in the coming years.
We have the honor today of being able to share with you a story from Dawn Anna mother of Laura Townsend.
It’s Spring. The temperatures are warming. Crocuses are blooming. The birds are singing a livelier tune. We are finally coming out of a cold, harsh winter. Change is coming.
I remember another time of change. It was April 20, 1999. A cold, harsh, brutal act at Columbine High School changed us all. My daughter, Lauren Townsend, was one of the precious thirteen who was killed that day. Dozens others were injured. If you are old enough to remember that day you remember where you were and how deeply this horrific act affected you.
This April 20th I am asking you to remember this: After you went to your knees, remember how you stood up, united with others, wanting to become a better person. You wanted to be a better parent, better sister, brother, better neighbor and friend. Think back and you may recall standing in a grocery line and letting someone with fewer items go ahead of you, or not getting angry when someone cut you off in traffic because no one got hurt. Things were put in perspective. And, it wasn’t just you. You felt it all around you. The mood had changed. We were appreciative for small things and for each other. We held our children tighter, thankful that we had them coming home to us because everyday the media reminded us of the alternative.
My family and I had people coming up to us almost everyday to say, “We know who you are. We are so sorry for your loss. Please know that in honor of your daughter I am spending more time with my family because I now realize how precious life and time are.” Those words, those acts by people we did not know, were the greatest signs of respect they could give to our Lauren.
That is my wish for April 20th, not only this year, but every year. April 20th should become a DAY OF RECOMMITMENT. Every April 20th we, including myself, should stop to ask ourselves, “Remember that day when I said I wanted to be a better, kinder, more giving person? How am I doing? Am I on the right track?” Great! But, if not, steer back onto to it and be better not just for the thirteen who were killed at Columbine on April 20th but for every person ever killed in a school shooting. Let us honor all of them on this day, this DAY OF RECOMMITMENT.
It is the least we can do for them. It is least we can do for ourselves.
In gratitude and sharing the walk with you,
Mother of Lauren Townsend
Founder of the Lauren Townsend Memorial Wildlife/Scholarship Fund