The Fifth Anniversary

In some ways this fifth anniversary was a little tougher—because of all the media attention on it being the fifth. But that goes with the territory.

The day started early for Tom, as he agreed to appear on some morning television programs. It was the first time he did so on a Columbine anniversary, and it was the first time the family didn’t go out of town for one.

Once again we made our anniversary trek to Mt. Olivet Cemetery to visit the graves of Daniel, Kelly Fleming and Matt Kechter. On the way there I looked intently as we drove along highway C-470, hoping for the rare "sign" we had been given twice before--a small herd of deer along the highway. (See earlier stories of how we were given amazing signs.)

While we didn't see a herd of deer or have the clouds move aside and make way for a bright display of sunshine, we nonetheless had a little sign of comfort, once again thanks to Madeline. After visiting the graves, Madeline wanted to walk around the cemetery and see all the pretty flowers. She was wild and full of energy as she went from one pretty scene to another. As we slowly walked back towards Daniel’s grave, we lost sight of Madeline. She was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly I noticed her—she had found her way to Daniel’s grave and was just sitting there peacefully (see photo below) facing the headstone, with her hands neatly folded. It was an unexpected and unscripted moment of joy that brought tears to my eyes. What a great sign of comfort!

In the evening Christie and I went to the formal memorial service that was held at the amphitheater in Clement Park . It was the first time we went to this annual event—it would just be too tough for Linda to endure them. Since Christie wanted to go but her friend never showed up, I agreed to take her. It was a very well done event—especially since the parents had the say in what was done.

There is one good thing about the fifth anniversary: round numbers. The media and the public has such a fascination with certain numbered anniversaries of events (especially 1, 5, 10, 20…), so I think we can expect there won’t be any significant media attention on Columbine again until the 10 th anniversary (with the exception of the planned construction of a memorial in Clement Park ). That’s a relief. We simply don’t like the painful reminders that come with the media attention. While we don’t want people to ever forget Daniel, we believe that with this website we have been able to keep his memory alive.

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