LITTLETON, Colo. – Nearly 8 1/2 years after the shootings at Columbine High School, a memorial is being dedicated in honor of those killed.
The memorial, originally a $2.5 million project, was scaled back and delayed while the community focused on rebuilding the school library, where many of the victims were shot.
The $1.5 million memorial will sit in a park next to the school, where two student gunmen killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves on April 20, 1999. The memorial was to be dedicated Friday.
An inner Ring of Remembrance will include 13 stations for each victim, with messages from their families etched into the ring's stone walls. An outer Ring of Healing will be engraved with words of Columbine victims, students, teachers, staff and community members.
Tom Mauser, whose son, Daniel, was killed at Columbine, said he hoped people curious about the massacre would visit the memorial instead of going to the school. He said it would help them reflect on the victims and how the community responded to the massacre, rather than on the gunmen.
"It shifts that focus to something more appropriate," Mauser said of the memorial.
He planned to wear Daniel's tennis shoes to the dedication, something he has done only about 10 times since his son's death in order to stretch their wear. Mauser said the shoes, which his son was wearing when he was killed, fit him perfectly.
None of the families of victims have disclosed what their inscriptions will read, although the memorial committee earlier this year asked Brian Rohrbough, whose son Daniel was killed, to change his wording "to give it a softer tone." Rohrbough refused and the committee later agreed to allow the text as written.