A day after thousands of mourners remembered Emily Keyes in a two-hour memorial service, more than 200 gathered at a bonfire Sunday in honor of the 16-year-old who was killed by a gunman who took her hostage at her high school.
With music, food and conversation, the gathering was a time for the community to support Platte Canyon High School teachers and students, and the sheriff's officials who responded to the standoff.
Keyes was among six girls taken hostage in a classroom by Duane Morrison, 53, on Wednesday. He shot Keyes and himself after SWAT officers stormed the classroom. The other hostages survived, but Park County sheriff's officials said the girls were sexually molested.
"I think that this has really made us strong," said Alex Floyd, a senior at Platte Canyon. "We're stronger than we'll ever be right now. And I also want to say, if you're one of these people who has trouble saying, `I love you,' get over it. We need to start saying, `I love you,' to everybody."
Relatives, friends and even those who didn't know Keyes took turns speaking.
"We will survive this together," said Connie Griebel, whose four children attended Platte Canyon High School.
Teachers were scheduled to return to the school Monday, with students scheduled to return to classes Thursday.