"...I believe I now understand that tremor I felt deep inside
a day after the tragedy that forewarned
ahead of me.
My complacent spirit was stirred at its most primal level to become
part of a solution..."
Ten Years After
a title for an editorial might seem as if it might possibly be a retrospective
on the famous rock band of the seventies of the same name. Not hardly,
as that would be something for Rolling Stone magazine to pursue with
much greater merit. However, the name of this hard-rock ensemble of
the past does conjure up reflection on one of their most notable tunes
associated with them, "I’d Love To Change The World",
a song whose title best relates to where my thoughts are taking me..."ten
The memorable mantra that is often repeated throughout the song in melodic
desperation is, "I'd love to change the world, but I don't know
what to do. So I'll leave it up to you". As much as I loved
to crank the tune up to feel the driving pedal point of the bass and
wailing countermelody of the "underwater" guitar that reinforced
the haunting hook, the sense of helplessness in the song’s chorus always
felt to me like a stone in an otherwise comfortable shoe.
What has evolved over the last ten years, since the Columbine tragedy
swept through our community, has profoundly exhibited to me that "there
is much we can do" and that "changing the world" begins
with ourselves and that a situation is only hopeless if we choose for
to be—we determine our course.
In a recent email, Drew Struzan, whose "native tongue" is
his art, as he will tell you, shared some simple, but memorable words
with me that burned as radiantly as the rainbow on the cover art of
our CD he beautifully illustrated. He says that, "This is your
time", and that it is "our gift" not to be taken for
granted and that we are defined by our choices—it is not up to someone
else. His words were so profound and fitting for the present time that
I couldn’t resist having them head up our main page for this special
issue as they really capture much of its overall theme.
In one of my favorite film classics, Dead Poets Society, a buzz phrase
emerged from that movie into a popular expression in the early nineties
that found itself everywhere, from tee shirts to bumper stickers. Often,
you can still run across it today hearkening its timeless wisdom nested
in two Latin words: "Carpe Diem", or "Seize the Day".
To add yet another perspective to this thought, Christian artist, Michael
W. Smith addressed it similarly in his anthemic song "This Is
Your Time", which celebrates the life and legacy of Columbine
victim, Cassie Bernal. The words and music poignantly purport for all
of us that time is precious and that we know not our last day or last
opportunity that we might be able to make that one final difference
somewhere in this world.
I believe that, since that unforgettable day in Littleton, many heroes
have risen to the cause and have "seized the day" by turning
tragedy into triumph in so many distinct ways. It’s awe-inspiring that
those who especially suffered incredible losses that few of us can even
imagine, have gone on to honor their lost loved-ones by "pressing
on" and having recognized that this is "their time".
Whether a survivor, or a parent who suffered the loss of a child, names
such as Rohrbough, Nowlen, Mauser, Scott, Flemming, Nimmo, Tomlin, Bernal,
Townsend, DePooter and Curnow, to name only a few, are "carved
into the edifice of time" as those who found a mission and ran
with it, sometimes at great risk against the grain of modern American
society and culture.
"I cannot believe ten years has gone by. What a blessing and honor
it has been to be a part of what began as a simple vision that turned
into something so much bigger."
– Nina Tamburello,
then there’s the abundant number of individuals and organizations that
contributed so much of their time and resources going the extra mile
in the aftermath of such a disaster—they are countless. They possessed
the ability to see through a challenge, rise to the occasion, and restore
ones’ faith in humankind. These are the doers and changers of the world.
In this special tenth anniversary issue, I encourage you
to read our stories written by and about some of the
people we have grown to look up to over the last ten years; who have
inspired us with their unwavering courage to "choose their course",
as Struzan puts it, and "be who they are"—common, ordinary
people doing extraordinary things.
For me and my daughter, who simply wanted to heal a heart with a simple
song, the last ten years have been a real journey satiated with many
disparate challenges and unexpected blessings.
It has been an honor beyond words to have worked with such an incredible
Board of Directors, generous donors, and endless array of supporters—all
who caught the vision. Working along side all of you these years has
been humbling and my daughter and I are forever grateful for believing
in a simple dream to heal with music. For without you, the dream would
never have been realized.
A tragedy like Columbine is something you never think will happen in
your own community—that such things can only happen "somewhere
else". But when the sun rose on that fateful day of April 20th
in 1999, little did we know that it would be eclipsed by incredible
loss and sadness that would deeply impact so many lives and paralyze
a community. I will never forget what happened the following evening
while watching a makeshift memorial unfold at Civic Center Park in Denver.
Like so many others, I was shocked and sick to my stomach for what had
happened in my own backyard.
After ten years, I believe I now understand that tremor I felt deep
inside a day after the tragedy that forewarned of something big just
ahead of me. My complacent spirit was stirred at its most primal level
to become part of a solution as tragedies in Paducah and Jonesboro were
still fresh on my mind. But I never could have anticipated what would
undoubtedly become one of the greatest and unforgettable whirlwinds
of my life, and my daughter’s. Since then, things have never been the
we look to the future in keeping the Lullaby for Columbine legacy alive,
whether it be by means that have yet to emerge; or through technologies
like Rhapsody and iTunes where one can download our CD from anywhere
in the world and be inspired by the voice of Rachael Lampa or a simple
tune written in the wee hours to quell a little girl’s heart, our spirits
will remain steadfast in their conviction in bringing healing to a hurting
world through music inspired by a day we will always remember.