Sunday, April 14, 2019

Columbine High School Memorial, 20 Year Anniversary of the Tragedy



Rocky Mountain Columbine Flower--the state flower of Colorado

"No one ever believed it would happen at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. But hopefully, people across the nation, across the state, will realize that it can happen in their school."

Those were the chilling words then-Columbine High School principal Frank DeAngelis told ABC News just days after the massacre on April 20, 1999, when two senior students at the high school opened fire at the school, killing 12 of their fellow students and a teacher, wounding 21 students and then killing themselves.  


Please click on to enlarge to read the inscription

On this, the approaching 20th anniversary of the tragic event, I thought I'd show some of The Columbine Memorial in Littleton's Clement Park that was dedicated and opened to the public on September 21, 2007. It was designed to be "a place of peace, comfort, and reflection, remembering all those who were touched by the events of April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School, those who were injured, and those whose lives were taken that day." 

To see overhead views of how the memorial is structured as two circular rings inserted into the top of Rebel Hill in Clement Park click here.


 I found visiting the memorial to be a very solemn and emotional experience.  I'll never forget watching live television coverage of the Columbine High School massacre on television in my home at the time in Brooklyn, New York.  I was aghast at the horror of it all. My daughter was a high school student at the time and I remember as she watched the TV coverage she commented: "How could anyone live in a place in which something like this could happen"?  How could we imagine then that we would be living in the Littleton, Colorado vicinity 20 years later! 

As subsequent history has sadly shown, school shootings are not the plight of urban, suburban, rural, rich, or poor schools--they are the plight of this entire nation, and this generation, for reasons we still do not completely understand.


Here are the names of the innocent victims of the Columbine High School Massacre:

  • Matthew Kechter • Rachel Scott • Cassie Bernall • Kyle Velasquez • Daniel Rohrbough • Dave Sanders • John Tomlin Corey DePooter • Kelly Fleming • Isaiah Shoels • Lauren Townsend • Daniel Mauser • Steven Curnow
May they all rest in peace.


Please click on the photo to enlarge

In the Ring of Remembrance, inside the memorial, each of the victim’s families was asked to provide a unique and personal reflection in a text that would honor their loved one. These remembrances were engraved in stone and stand as a tribute to the victims.
I photographed Lauren Townsend's tribute but, honestly, I had too many tears in my eyes to continue to photograph all thirteen of them. I was very sad to read the tributes to their wonderful, innocent teens and of the brave teacher, whose lives were cut short in this tragedy.


In the center of the Ring of Remembrance of the memorial lies the “Never Forgotten” ribbon designed by victim Kyle Velasquez’s parents, Al and Phyllis.

 If you would like to read all of the individual student and teacher tributes, you can click on this Flickr album and scroll down to see them. The album begins with the beautiful Columbine Memorial Garden at Olinger Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens Cemetery, and then the Clement Park Columbine Memorial.


Please click on this photo collage to enlarge it

The Wall of Healing was designed to honor all those who were injured, the first responders and all those who were touched by the events of April 20, 1999. The wall consists of many engraved stones with quotes from students, the community, parents, first responders, and notable statements that were made at the groundbreaking of the Columbine Memorial. My photo collage above shows some of the inscriptions.


A poignant question. 

There is an interesting article in the Washington Post--click here--which is about a security expert, John McDonald, who is in charge of school safety for Jefferson County, Colorado, where Columbine High School is located. According to the article: "...he is responsible for the safety of 157 schools and 85,000 students in a community that long ago stopped talking about a need for healing or forgiveness and started focusing on recovery and preparation." 


Every anniversary year, Columbine High School students have engaged in community projects as an act of honor and remembrance for those lost, and to turn a sad day into a more positive day of kindness and service.  

That is a wonderful thing for us all to strive for, no matter where we live--to make the world a kinder, better place.

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Amaze Me MondayMosaic Monday, All SeasonsBlue Monday,  Through My Lens MondayHeart and Soul Link UpInspiration Monday, Blogging GrandmothersHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog HopGood Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Photo Tunes, Happiness Is HomemadeSomething Old Is NewTuesday TreasuresOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesdays With A TwistWordless Wednesday on a TuesdaySay Cheese!,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayNanahood WWOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Your Whims WednesdayWednesday Around the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things Thursday,Thankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and HomeThursday Favorite Things,  Pretty Pintastic PartyFriendship FridaysFriday Photo JournalSkywatch Friday, Pink SaturdaySaturday CrittersOver the MoonHappiness Is HomemadeWandering Camera

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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sogetsu Ikebana, the Ancient Japanese Art of Flower Arranging


Has "Spring Fever" arrived where you are? To me, the Spring season brings thoughts of warming temperatures, the arrival of flowers, spring cleaning and home improvements. Recently, my husband, daughter and I attended the Denver Home Show, held at the National Western Complex in Denver, Colorado. There, we saw many vendors displaying windows and hot tubs, gutter guards and mattresses, and many other assorted home design or improvements. 

(All photos and photo collages will enlarge when clicked on)


The main reason we went to the show, however, was to attend the Denver Home Show's Annual Sogetsu Colorado Ikebana Show.  Ikebana is the fine art of Japanese floral arranging and Sogetsu Colorado displayed many of their incredible and unique flower arrangements at the show.



Please click on the photo to enlarge it to read content.

The Sogetsu School of ikebana was founded in 1927 in Japan by Sofu Teshigahara, whose vision was to adapt traditional ikebana to more contemporary times. While retaining some of the traditional ikebana concepts such as asymmetry, open space, and depth, he rejected many of the more rigid rules about materials, placement and permitted styles of arrangements that were integral parts of the ikebana of the past.


Sogetsu Colorado was founded by Mrs. Kyoko Kita in 1986. The branch includes members from the Metropolitan Denver area, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and many Front Range communities. The purpose of this group is to increase the interest and awareness of the art of ikebana to those communities

Please click on to enlarge.

The theme of the 2019 Sogetsu Ikebana was the Japenese Five Elements--Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Space.  Each flower arrangement represented one of the elements and it was fun to guess which one and then turn over a small card that had a question mark on it that was next to each arrangement to see if our guess was correct.


The arrangements were colorful...


...and many were placed in unusual containers that added to their sense of visual poetry.


Most arrangements had additions of natural accents that curled and flowed ...


 ...and extended the arrangement.


Some arrangements were quite small, while others were large.



We really enjoyed looking at each one and found it hard to chose a favorite!


The highlight of the show for us was to watch one of the Sogestsu Colorado teachers, along with an assistant, demonstrate how to make four different ikebana arrangements.  A moderator explained how the flowers are cut on a slant with their stems under water which helps them live longer. She stressed how the container that is used is also an important element of ikebana and that they often scoured thrift stores and yard sales for unique containers.  I particularly liked the tall clear glass container in which the teacher placed a palm frond inside. She then slit the top of the palm frond and made it into the shape of a circle before adding baby's breath flowers, a single bird of paradise flower and finally graceful stems to the vase. It all looked very graceful and impressive!


The demonstrater worked quickly and effortlessly to make each beautiful ikebana arrangement, and it was a pleasure to watch her work and see the final results.  My daughter and I learned quite a bit and we now feel inspired to begin to collect our own ikebana accent pieces that we find in nature on our local hikes.


This display at the exit of the Sogetsu Ikebana display made me smile. It was definitely a tribute to Colorado weather, as  Spring in Colorado is often accompanied by snowfall well into the month of May. In an ikebana way, snow can also be thought of as a container or accessory that compliments and enhances the flowers. 
Each season has its own beauty and function and ikebana displays are a wonderful expression of nature's creativity.

An interesting article about Ikebana can be read on this linkIf you would like to learn more about Sogetsu Ikebana and where to take classes check out this link for the English version of their Japanese website. To learn more about classes in Colorado for Sogetsu Ikebana click here.


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I'm linking this post to the following blog events:

Amaze Me MondayMosaic Monday, All SeasonsBlue Monday,  Through My Lens MondayHeart and Soul Link UpInspiration Monday, Blogging GrandmothersHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog HopGood Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Photo Tunes, Happiness Is HomemadeSomething Old Is NewTuesday TreasuresOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesdays With A TwistWordless Wednesday on a TuesdaySay Cheese!,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayNanahood WWOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Your Whims WednesdayWednesday Around the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things Thursday,Thankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and HomeThursday Favorite Things,  Pretty Pintastic PartyFriendship FridaysFriday Photo JournalSkywatch Friday, Pink SaturdaySaturday CrittersOver the MoonHappiness Is HomemadeWandering Camera


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