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Columbine High School marks 19th anniversary of shooting massacre

Posted: 11:42 AM, Apr 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-20 13:42:35-04

Friday, April 20 marks the 19th anniversary of the deadly mass shooting at Columbine High School.

Today, while students across the country walked out in protest, students there worked to help others. As is part of their tradition, the school is closed and the students are encouraged to participate in some form of community service, "A Day of Service," in honor of the thirteen people who were killed there.

School shooting survivors from Parkland, Fla. rallied in Colorado on Thursday as part of their continuing nationwide push for stricter gun laws. The protest was headlined as "Vote for Our Lives" and was held at the Columbine Memorial at Clement Park adjacent to the school, the site of the 1999 massacre.

(Participants hold up placards during the kickoff event for the Vote For Our Lives movement to register voters, Thursday, April 19, 2018, at Clement Park in Littleton, Colo. The event was held on the eve of the 19th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School, which is located on the east end of the park southwest of Denver.) (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Florida students held signs in memory of the 17 students and staff who were killed in the Valentine’s Day shooting there. "It just feels surreal. We were born knowing what Columbine is," Stoneman Douglas senior Michelle Dittmeier said to 9 News after visiting the memorial. "I came here to not feel alone. And this really helps you to feel you’re not alone."

(Jorge Flores, left, consoles fellow Stoneman Douglas High School survivor Carlitos Rodriguez during the kickoff event for the Vote For Our Lives movement to register voters, Thursday, April 19, 2018, at Clement Park in Littleton, Colo. The event was held on the eve of the 19th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School, which is located on the east end of the park southwest of Denver.) (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

On April 20, 1999 two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold gunned down 12 students and one teacher. A total of 23 others were hurt. The pair planted a bomb that never detonated before they started their shooting spree. They started their rampage outside and continued as they made their way through the school. The pair shot at police and committed suicide in the library.

Swat teams entered the school 47 minutes after the shooting and it took five hours before authorities declared the school under control.

Students said the idea behind the walk out and "Vote for Our Lives" rally is to get high school students who will be 18 years old registered to vote and participate in the next election. Nearly 100 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School flew in from Florida for Thursday’s rally. The students stayed with local families who helped fund their trips.

(Emmy Adams, front, a student at Golden, Colo., High School, hugs an unidentified student from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., before a program during the kickoff event for the Vote For Our Lives movement to register voters, Thursday, April 19, 2018, at Clement Park in Littleton, Colo. The event was staged on the eve of the 19th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School, which is located on the east end of the park southwest of Denver.) (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

"They thought they were burying us. They didn’t know we were seeds," said Emmy Adams to 9 News Denver, she’s a senior at nearby Golden High School and  helped organize the rally. "They didn’t know we would turn hate into action."

The Columbine shooting ranks as one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history and also as one of the deadliest episodes of school violence. 

(Two rings of chairs encircle the words "NEVER AGAIN" in a silent protest on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting outside Trinity High School in Manchester, N.H., Friday, April 20, 2018. The inner ring chairs have names of the Columbine victims, the outer ring chairs have names of the Parkland High School shooting victims.) (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)