4.20.99: I was at my computer working on something – who knows what. I was a Sr. Employee Communications Manager at US West in Denver, so when Joe Lopez, sitting right next to me, says “hey, Sammy, there’s been a shooting at a high school in Littleton,” my stomach twisted. We had a major facility in Littleton, so we were automatically talking about USW families.
I told him to get everything he could on it, and headed down the hall. I had to interrupt a meeting to notify our VP. I recall her being annoyed with me, because I don’t think she immediately realized what the import was. Then I think I headed around the corner to let our media relations team know. That’s about the last detail I remember clearly from work that day, although I know more or less what we did as the story unfolded.
I visited Columbine High School and Clement Park twice in the week after the shooting and wrote about about what I saw. That piece remains one of the most humbling reminders of how limited we writers really are, because I know what I wrote and I know what a poor job it does of fully expressing what I felt, what I still feel.
For the record, Columbine still hurts. Even now, six years on, I can barely think about it without having to fight back tears….