Reflecting on the 21st Anniversary of the Columbine Massacre
More than 20 years have passed since I was on air on that very sad and frightening day.
On April 20, 1999, I was into my third year of working here at 600 Main Street in Windsor and was on the air, filling in for the midday person at that time.
We didn't have all the technology that we have today. No cell phones, barely any internet. We had a news feed called the Associated Press, which alerted us whenever there was a sudden, significant development in our area. So, it was through the Associated Press that we learned that there was a shooting happening in Littleton at Columbine High School.
That was the thing, though, it was happening. The attack was progressing moment-to-moment, but none of us truly knew what was unfolding behind those school doors. 'What is going on?' was all that anyone could say.
One of my co-workers was a news-oriented person with connections at 9News. She got on the phone and started calling people she knew to get us information to pass along to our listeners.
I remember that after that day, we made sure we had at least one TV connection that we could refer to.
As time went on, the developing situation became clearer, the stark details coming to light. Two young men who attended Columbine had gone in to their school, shot and killed 12 of their fellow students, one teacher, and then themselves.
It was unreal. In 1999, these things didn't happen. 21 years later, there are now many incidents on record of 'mass shootings,' but back then, I don't think I'd even heard of the term.
I remember it being so scary, this surreal horror of trying to get the information out about this terrible event in between playing country songs.
Then, as we struggled through the aftermath of the shooting, even more details surfaced, each more poignant than the last, many of them becoming the images we remember most clearly about that day:
The two young men taking over the library; the 13 victims, their pictures in newspapers and covered with flowers; the confused police response; the video of terrified students running from the school with their hands in the air because the authorities couldn't be sure they weren't one of the shooters.
It was such a terrible incident.
My thoughts and prayers go out the family and friends of the victims that day:
- Steven Curnow
- Corey DePooter
- Kelly Fleming
- Mathew Kechter
- Daniel Mauser
- Daniel Rorbough
- William 'Dave' Sanders - Teacher
- Rachel Scott
- Isiah Shoels
- John Tomlin
- Lauren Townsend
- Kyle Velasquez