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CNN Today

Columbine Looking to the Future: Students, Staff Gather in Remembrance of Victims

Aired April 20, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: It is a somber and painful day for Littleton, Colorado one year after two students ambushed Columbine High School with guns and homemade bombs. Classes are cancelled so that students and staff can take part in several private and public remembrances. We'll bring you one of those services live in about 30 minutes.

For now, CNN's Jeff Flock is keeping watch in Littleton -- Jeff.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, in Clement Park, it's beginning to fill up here for what is being billed as a community remembrance, "a time to remember, a time to hope." Believe it or not, according to investigators, it was all over by this hour, this moment, one year ago. Less than a half hour is all it took for it to play out. But what terrible tragedy did play out. It was 11:21 Mountain time when it all began in Columbine High School, when the gunfire began to ring out through the halls. That moment was marked by a moment of silence today and by some words from Colorado Governor Bill Owens.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BILL OWENS (R), COLORADO: Today is about the victims of Columbine and their families. Today is about the survivors of the tragedy who every day remember their friends, and every day continue to look to God for comfort and guidance. Today is about Columbine's students and faculty. Today is about the Columbine community and about Colorado, and the strength that we found within ourselves to help each other in our time of need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLOCK: But how does one go about putting things back together? How do people mark this remembrance?

A lot of people have apparently left town. School yesterday was -- attendance was off by about a third. Today, classes were -- there were no classes and school was optional. People did gather, though, in the school gymnasium to have a private remembrance there.

What's next? Well, people are remembering back today, back to those image. We have been judicious in our use of those images, but a few of them, perhaps, to refresh recollections of what happened here one year ago. It is burned, perhaps, in the nation's, and perhaps even the world's collective consciousness, children running from the school and the aftermath of this tragedy.

I suppose it could be said, at least it was by one local clergyman, that perhaps it is necessary to relive some of those images to begin to put it all behind.

More reliving today not far from here in the park: Perhaps you remember a year ago, that after the tragedy 15 crosses were erected. We have pictures. You may also remember how that all played out. Two of those crosses were taken down by the families of some of the victims, not believing that it was appropriate to have crosses erected for two of the dead teenaged gunmen. Those crosses, at least the 13 of them from the victims, were re-erected today in Clement Park not too far from where we stand right now, the crosses put in place. They were built and put in place by a carpenter from Illinois who brought them back today after taking them down one year ago.

As we said, not far from here shortly will be that community remembrance service. It, I guess, is scheduled to begin in about 25 minutes time as this day continues -- this day of remembrance and hope and healing continues in Columbine -- outside Columbine High School.

That's the latest from here, Lou. Back to you.

WATERS: Jeff, have you had a chance to talk with any of the students today?

FLOCK: We talked to one of the students. And most of the students were over at the school and have not yet reemerged from the school. We expect some of them, perhaps, will be here. One of them came to the park, a student who had graduated last year, a class of '99. And at the ceremony here shortly, there'll be students both from the class of 2000, as well as from the class of '99. He chooses not to be a part of any of the public memorials or any of this sort of thing. He feels as though the best way to mark it is off by himself, and said he thought it was too politicized, all of these things, all of this alleged coming-together.

So everyone marking it in their own way, Lou.

WATERS: Do you know if the Klebolds and the Harrises still live in the Littleton area?

FLOCK: Near as we know they do. But beyond what they said last week, reissuing the apologies that they have made before for what happened, we have no knowledge of how they are spending this day -- Lou.

WATERS: All right, Jeff Flock. We'll be back to you. That remembrance begins at the bottom of the hour, about 25 minutes from now.

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