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Reflecting on the 16th Anniversary of the Columbine Massacre

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If you're old enough to remember 9/11, then chances are you remember exactly where you were when it happened. I was playing Monopoly in the back of a classroom with my sister and three of our friends.

I also remember where I was during the Columbine High School massacre. Roughly 800 miles away, I was at home in Dallas. I was only 4 years old. I would be 5 in four short months, but I remember seeing the images of the shooting play on the TV as my mom watched them over and over again. My siblings had both gone to school that day, and she was crying with joy when they made it home safely.

There are so many stories of tragedy, loss and healing with this school shooting. Students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were just teenagers with too many stories of their own, ending the novels that were their lives with suicide.

Today, April 20, is the 16th anniversary of the massacre. Tragedy affects the people involved in so many different ways, but we never really think about how it affects those who weren't there. Without disrespecting or dishonoring anybody who was injured or killed during the school shooting, I would like to talk about how it affected me, a little girl 800 miles away.

I grew up in a decade when harsh words could result in violence, guns weren't just for wars and bomb threats were more common than plane crashes. But I also grew up in a time when a simple "yes" or "no" could make or break your life.

Rachel Scott, one of the 13 victims of the school shooting, has one of the most popular stories of the tragedy. It's inspired books, movies and her father to travel around the country telling teenagers about her. Rachel was a devout Christian. She was outside eating lunch when she was the first victim taken by Eric Harris. Before Harris shot her, he asked if she still believed in God. And without a moment's hesitation, she said yes. And it was that admission that broke her life.

But it was that very same "yes" that made her life. Her life may have ended, but not before she stood up for it. Knowing she was going to die, she wanted her last words to be a confession to her killer.
Rachel's life and last words inspire me not to be afraid of the truth, not to be scared of saying "yes" even when the consequences could hurt me, and never keeping my mouth shut if the consequences could save somebody else.

Instead of remembering the tragedy of the Columbine shooting and many others, we can remember the bravery of those involved and be inspired as the uninvolved.
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