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Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Day of Remembrance

I know each one by their name! I see their faces and know I can never forget. Well the rest of the world goes by today we honor those who lost their lives and those who are surviving from the worst theater  shooting in Colorado! Aurora is a few miles from my home. About 20-30 minutes depending on the traffic. This, like Columbine, hit very close to home! I find it difficult to think of these wonderful people who had so much to give to society. They were good, decent, honest folks. Just out for a night at the movies with friends and loved ones.

Their stories are everywhere. A J Boik, buried in purple, his favorite color and the family asking everyone to wear purple to his celebration of life, one year ago. His mom and girlfriend shared a moment at his grave recently. As the two of them walked away, A.J.'s mom said "He is going home with me now, you can have him later." His girlfriend shared their favorite spot, one where A.J. had proposed, a few weeks earlier. They had their life planned out. They were going to be together always. In that dark theater A.J. shielded her from the gunmans bullets. He died as she watched! I talk a lot about A.J. He is the same age as my own son Nick..They both graduated in the class of 2012. A.J. from Gateway HS in Aurora, my Nick from Thornton HS in Thornton , Co. Nick finished his first year of college, making us proud. A.J. died before he had that chance. So we remember him as he was. The night of the shooting I prayed for all those families but I felt drawn to A.J. because he was so similar to my own son. I have prayed many prayers for the family and his beautiful girlfriend.  They are always with me. Matt McQuinn took a bullet so his girlfriend would live. He was, as his family says, "A Super Hero". He had plans to move back to Ohio just a few weeks shy of the shooting. His dad loves to tell the story of Matt wanting to put a V8 engine in his dodge Avenger! His dad kept telling Matt, it would not work, yet Matt had a dream, a plan of his own! Matt would celebrate his 28th birthday this year, just like my son Jeremy. His life, as brief as it was, was a good one. A kind heart, taken away too soon.

 Veronica Moser-Sullivan was 6! She was always smiling and had learned how to swim. Having a celebration with a movie, took her young life and paralyzed her mother Ashley who also suffered a miscarriage. Ian Sullivan, the father of Veronica has set a goal. He is going to climb all the Colorado Fourteeners! A Fourteener is a mountain peak that is higher than 14,000 feet! Colorado has fifty three of them! Ian has a lot of climbing to do! He says it is the one place where he feels totally at peace and can remember his young daughter.

 Alex Sullivan was "Sully" to family and friends. He was a big guy with a huge heart. He was celebrating his 27th birthday when he was murdered. He would have celebrated his first wedding anniversary  Sunday, July 21, 2012! He was also the same age as my oldest son. The morning after the shooting his father held his photo up desperate to know if anyone had seen him! A tragedy to lose a happy go lucky guy who loved movies and enjoyed life to the fullest.

 Jesse Childress was 29 the night he lost his life. His family has been the most private but he was a young man with a good heart. He was in the Army before he joined the  Air Force Reserves. He loved sports and participated in many including flag football, where my son Jeremy knew him. He loved sports but he hated running! He died protecting a fellow reservist, a gal he was attending the movie with. Two of his friends begged him to sneak in to theater 8 and watch a different movie with them but he choose to stay with his friend in theater 9! He died a hero . He had a dream to visit all the Division 1 football stadiums

. Jessica Ghawi had a love for life. One month before her untimely death she was eating at a food court in Toronto. Moments after she left someone started shooting and she looked at life differently her mother said. She felt that each day needed to be lived with gusto. Her mother said Jessica was like lightning and when she came home for a visit she would walk in and cause chaos by the amount of energy she brought into a room! Her love of sports and her huge Texas heart brought her to Denver for a new job. Alex Teves was a good guy. His dad said if only one word could be used to describe him it would be "good". He had a heart of gold and everyone loved him. He had a Masters degree in Psychology and was going to be a Physical Therapist. He was born and raised in Arizona and his family has suffered a tremendous loss. I imagine you may have figured it out already, but Alex saved his girlfriends life and gave his own in that theater.

Rebecca Wingo was a linguist and single mother of two. A friend convinced her to come out that fateful night and enjoy a movie! Her life too was taken too soon and she is loved and missed by many. I can not imagine how her young children must feel to be without the mother that they  loved. Jon Blunk was a Navy man and father of two. He also died protecting the friend he was sharing his movie night with! He leaves a wife and two young children.
Gordon Cowden was enjoying the movie with his kids. He was a quiet man, a gentleman who took two of his daughters to that fateful movie and earlier had taught them to country dance to the two step! His older daughter remembers the last words she heard her father say "I love you, I love you both"! Gordon was 51 years old.
Micayla Medek was attending Aurora Community College. She told all her friends and family that she was a sandwich artist because she worked for Subway! She had a kind heart and worked hard at her job and with her studies. She was 23, a life lost too soon.
John Larimer was 27 and the youngest of five children. His girlfriend said when the shooting started John threw himself on her to save her from the barrage of bullets.  He died a hero. He was a Navy man and was getting ready to deploy. He loved his country and wanted to protect and serve those who live here.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world. John 16:33
All the stories I have heard from the Aurora Shooting do not currently have happy endings but many have counted on their strong faith to see them through the difficult days. There were 70 other people injured, many critically and their stories have a long way to travel. Many are traveling a journey they would not have choosen. But they are survivors as are the families of those loved ones lost.  I am hopeful that I will be able to relay many of the stories of the survivors. Everyday people enjoying a night at the movies when their world was shattered. I hope you will never forget them.

*my photos are courtesy of the DenverPost newspaper Agency and AP.


Denise said...

bless you for remembering, and for sharing. I appreciate you.

NanaDiana said...

I am bawling like a baby reading the stories of pain and knowing the sorrow each family experienced. Blessings- xo Diana

bj said...

I have squalled my eyes out over this and all the other mean, terrible things that have happened this year.

I am also looking for a pink cookie...

Terra said...

You are good to share this about these much loved people. I am especially touched at the thought of the young men who died shielding people.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

I am crying all over again for those lost.....

Terie Cornelio said...

Thank you for keeping their memory alive.

Intense Guy said...

That was a day of horror and a sad statement on how "ugly" some supposed "human beings" can be - your post honors and remembers the innocent - and the unfortunate. May they rest in peace - and their sacrifice be for a positive benefit (mental heath care that works).

Marydon Ford said...

What a beautiful tribute to the heroes of our lives, Anne. TY for this piece. May God continue to bless their families & hold their souls closely.

Jenny said...

What a beautiful and touching remembrance.