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Colombian families gather to tell stories almost 20 years later

Columbine High School families shot victims on Saturday to tell their stories nearly 20 years after the tragedy, and they talked about forgiveness, inclusion and healing and balm that sometimes can only bring silence. [19659002Eswaram20April1999whentwostudentsfromColumbinehadbeenkilledbyLittletoninDenwoelveclassmatesandaschoolboy

A dozen parents, siblings, former students and others who had suffered from the ordeal, met with reporters the next month's jubilee. Here are some of her stories.

Darrell and Sandy Scott

Darrell Scott thought about forgiveness on Saturday.

Darrell and Sandy Scott's daughter Rachel were murdered in Columbine and they formed a program called Rachel's Challenge in their honor. One of the principles taught by the program is forgiveness, a path the Scots have taken after Rachel's death.

"It was a difficult decision, but we could help students who are struggling with problems in their own lives," said Darrell Scott.

Forgiveness frees you, said Scott. "And if you do not forgive, you will be adamant and bitter and angry and seek revenge," he said.



Craig Scott

The son of Scott, Craig, was also a student in Columbine and was at school on the day of the attack. He fears that school shootings have become a "part of the American psyche".

"Unfortunately, the formula is that you are being bullied at school, so maybe you'll shoot a gun," Scott said. Who has an organization called Value Up and talks with students about how to value human life and not turn to violence?

"Being bullied or molested at school is wrong," he said. "But that's only temporary, so if you decide to end someone's life, it's permanent." That's a constant judgment. "

Frank DeAngelis

Frank DeAngelis, Columbine's boss At the time of filming, he wondered aloud how the killers became so hateful and whether it was part of the answer that they felt excluded ,

"We talk about things to make schools safer," he said, including surveillance cameras and metal detectors. "But what you should not underestimate is that everyone feels welcome, inclusiveness."

Schools are becoming more inclusive, he said, but now they have to fight against cyberbullying.

"That scares me," said DeAngelis. "Well, if someone posts something on this phone, it will be there forever and those kids will feel destroyed forever."

Missy Mendo and Heather Martin

Missy Mendo and Heather Martin were Columbine students who escaped the attack physically unhurt, but the emotional trauma kept them away from school for years.

"I fought a lot for Columbine," Martin said.

At the 10th anniversary, she finally ventured back to school from the shootings in 2009, but Mendo did not return before this year.

Mendo and Martin helped found the Rebels Project, named after the Columbine High School mascot to help other survivors of mass trauma Mendo gathered the courage to return on Saturday.

"Helping others, knowing that you helped them with steps they needed to help themselves," she said. "And to know that if we came here today, we would be able to let other people know that we would be here when they needed us."

Tom Mauser

For Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel was killed in Columbine, the 20th anniversary will only be another day and one bad day.

"We live it every day," he said. "It's a memory we have every day we lost our son, like anyone who has lost a child."

However, he appreciates that other people want to honor the victims and ask how the survivors are.

More meaningful than the observance of anniversaries would be the question of whether the society should proceed against shootings in the school, said Mauser.

"What determination must we prevent from happening again?" He said.

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Rick Townsend

Rick Townsend, whose daughter Lauren was killed in Columbine, reflected on the friendliness and recalled the support felt by families around the world.

"There was a time when people said," You know, we really have to be nicer to each other. We need to support each other, "he said.

" I think this is something over time. I'm not sure why.

Dawn Anna

Dawn Anna, Lauren Townsend's mother, said she finds comfort by helping others through the tragedy. The most important thing, she said, is not to talk, just to be present.

She learned that she came to her house after a Columbine shootings from a friend she described as a "motorized mouth," but to her surprise and relief – said nothing. She just sat with her and occasionally got up to fetch a glass of water.

"Do not say anything because there's no word you can say that means something," Anna said. "And when they're ready or when they ask a question, you can start talking."

Follow Dan Elliott at http://twitter.com/DanElliottAP.

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