Columbine High School
: it's a name that will mark history forever. Located in Littleton, Colorado -- the students there pressed to have the school closed forever. I can't blame them. Would you want to, as a teenager, have to step foot in those halls knowing that previous students had bled their lives away there? Though badly damaged by gunfire
the school wasn't closed permanently, though some residents felt it should be.
Back in the summer of 1995, Columbine got a $15 million dollar makeover, just in time to greet Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the shooters who would in just four years force it to undergo another major renovation. August 16th, 1999 the high school reopened its doors resuming classes
Columbine High welcomed back an enthusiastic student body, including several students who had been injured in the bloody rampage; they returned in wheelchairs and on crutches with big smiles for the cameras that flocked to the scene. Some of the kids who were injured never returned to Columbine, too traumatized
to ever go back again.
, the areas care was taken to insure that the areas where the rampage to place no longer resemble the old Columbine at all -- a fact met with mixed reactions from students who attended the school after 4-20-1999. The library
where the most deaths occurred was completely walled over with a bank of new lockers and a new library
was built later by the charitable group HOPE
into an open-air two-story atrium
, painted in nature's colors. The new library was built atop the grassy knoll where Rachel Scott
was killed and Richard Castaldo
was critically injured during the massacre. The construction was belaboured by financial setbacks but was eventually completed and is in use today.
Eric's and Dylan's
lockers were painted over and renumbered into anonymity, randomly reassigned to new students. Some debate was given by school authorities to seal up the lockers permanently but it was decided that would send the wrong message to the students.
Those who were lucky enough to escape without injury
were shuttled off to Leawood Elementary where their anxious families waited for them. The injured victims
were triaged on-scene at the time in a cul-de-sac near the school before being loaded into ambulances and police units to be shipped to whatever hospitals had room for them. The survivors were released at intervals though those who suffered the worst traumas (head and spine injuries) may never fully recover from their various life-threatening injuries.
Due to the huge influx of sympathy email at the time, the school set up a posting forum of sorts where they posted the emails they received. It was mostly filled with the same outpouring of grief but weaseled in there now and again one could find some unusual emails: a girl crying for help at her own school; a fellow sharing his tale of stabbing a bully nine times in self-defense. They've since turned the site into a memorial to Columbine's victims
, removing the posts in favor of links and inspiration.
To prevent grave tampering, Dylan Klebold's family had his body cremated
and his funeral was presided over by the Klebolds' former pastor, Don Marxhausen
(read the eulogy
). It's been rumored that Eric Harris was cremated as well, though there's little evidence of what became of his body after it was returned to his family.
were held at churches all over the city in rapid succession, some in pairs, and the victims who died
were laid to rest in various cemeteries in the area and abroad. Impromptu memorials cropped up all over Littleton honoring those who died, including a huge one at Clement Park
across the street from the school and at the school itself as well. Permanent memorials
were established eventually and some are still in the works, such as the Columbine Memorial