Coloradans Ambivalent About Marking Aurora Anniversary

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In the weeks after last year's shooting, a hillside across from the movie theater became an impromtu shrine where people could pay their respects to the victims. [Photo: CPR/MVerlee]

This Saturday, July 20th, marks one year since the shooting at an Aurora movie theater that left twelve people dead and dozens wounded. Here are some events going on to mark the anniversary:

* The Aurora Strong Community Resilience Center will offer help with coping and recovery during the month of July.

* The city of Aurora will have events through the day at its Municipal Center, including a community gathering and ceremony from 7:30 - 9am and healing activities from 9 to 2pm.

* Volunteer opportunities and community service projects will be available at a number of Aurora-based nonprofits.

* Copper Kettle Brewing Company will host a fundraiser with around a dozen local breweries to raise money for the Alexander C Teves ACT Foundation and Phoenix999.

Beyond all the organized events, we wondered how individual Coloradans would like to see the day marked. We asked you to share your thoughts, and here’s some of what we heard:

"My thought... is for the area theaters to allow their screens to go blank for a few moments, just so that those of us who are enjoying a movie can take a few moments to be quiet and be grateful for our lives and think about those that are still processing the tragedy either physically, emotionally, or otherwise, and give them our good intentions and good thoughts."
- Maria, Arvada.


"I think it's important on this day to let the families remember in peace, if that's what they choose, or if they want to speak out and receive support, that each family have the opportunity to do what fits for them.

I also encourage everybody to look at where they're at on mental health, and where their family's at on mental health, and what have we done in the last year to make our society a little bit more safe or what could we do in the future."
- Coni Sanders, daughter of teacher David Sanders, who was killed in the 1999 attack on Columbine High School. She's now a licensed forensic therapist working with the violently mentally ill.


"Americans seem to have this insatiable desire to keep revisiting tragedies. I think that people need to leave stuff behind to heal. And by constantly revisiting, it's like tearing a scab off a wound. It will never heal. And it's something that has puzzled me for a long time now." - Tom Schmitz, Monument


"I grew up in the Columbine area and was greatly affected by the tragedies that occured at that high school. And for years after the shooting I was doing things that set that day apart, so that I could take time to reflect and to spend time with my family. And the longer I did this, the older I got, the more I realized that by setting this day apart, I was allowing something that happened that was so tragic to completely change my value set. And I found it damaging. And I can't speak for others who are impacted by shootings like this, because it is such a personal system, but to me, I don't think there is a proper way to commemorate something like this, because we don't want this kind of thing to change us, we want to keep moving forward."
- Jay, Englewood


Do you plan to do something special on July 20th to memorialize the day? If so, what will you do? If not, why not? Share your thoughts at the CPR News Facebook page.