LITTLETON – Survivors are marking 20 years since the shooting at Columbine High School that killed 12 students and a teacher.
On April 20, 1999, 17-year-old Dylan Klebold and 18-year-old Eric Harris opened fire on the campus.
That day 20 others were injured, and survivors say it’s still hard to get past those events. Many Americans still remember the images of bloodied teens pulled from the school’s windows and law enforcement moving in on the campus.
“I rolled over onto my back and just began to push myself with my left leg that still worked,” said Patrick Ireland, who was a sophomore at the time of the shooting. “I would think of like, okay, is this worth it. Does this really, um, no, would it be easier just to like give up or let somebody come get me?”
Ireland was shot twice in the foot and once in the head. His injuries affected his ability to walk, talk, read, and write, but he says he was lucky. Other students suffered serious spinal cord injuries.
As the 20th anniversary approaches his message is one of forgiveness. “Our belief is that we’re going to make the best of this. We are going to stay strong. Tough times happen, but we’re going to become stronger and better.”
Several events are planned for Saturday to mark the anniversary, including a religious service, a day of community service projects, and a memorial ceremony at Clement Park, where the Columbine Memorial Garden sits to honor the lives lost and changed on that day.