Columbine High School Sends Caring Messages to Pentagon
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2001 "Everyone was distraught the day the tragedy happened because it brought back memories of what happened here on April 20, 1999," said Tania Atencio, assistant principal at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.
The students, faculty and staff of Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., wanted to show their concern and understanding of the emotions of Pentagon workers by filling a giant banner with their thoughts and prayers following the terrorist attack on the building Sept. 11, 2001. The high school found itself in the headlines in April 1999 when two boys went on a shooting rampage, killed 15 persons and wounded 25. "When the tragedy happened at Columbine, many people around the country did the same thing for us," Assistant Principal Tania Atencio said.
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Atencio said when hijacked airliners slammed into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, "It brought up a lot of emotions from students, the staff and the community."
To show their concern and understanding of the emotions of Pentagon workers, the students and staff of Columbine High School wrote messages on a huge banner titled, "The Heart of Columbine," and in large black letters, "To the Pentagon You are in our thoughts and prayers, Love, Columbine High School," and sent it to the Pentagon.
"When the tragedy happened at Columbine, many people around the country did the same thing for us," Atencio explained. "As different tragedies happened in other states, out students seemed to want to do something for them. So we put a large piece of paper on a table in the lunch area for them to write their message on. They were really enthusiastic about doing a banner for the Pentagon. Since they were so eager, we put the paper out two days after the Sept. 11 incident.
"They wrote words of encouragement, support and condolence as well," Atencio said.
The Columbine High School banner now hangs on a third-floor wall in the Pentagon's "A" ring. Some of the hundreds of messages from students and staff include:
- "Thank you for being so brave! Grieve when you need to and laugh when you can. You will be remembered as heroes forever. You are all in my thoughts and prayers every day."
- "Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Never give up hope and stay strong in this terrible time because everything will be all right in the end."
- "Times can be hard. Each day it gets a little easier. Give it time and things will get better."
- "Our thoughts and prayers have been with you through this very difficult time and will continue. Never give up faith and hope. God is always on your side. we all give you our love. Stay strong."
- "You all are in my prayers. Although these times are tough, better days will come. My God grant you strength and peace."
- "Happiness will come again. Never give up love, hope and faith. We understand your loss and our thoughts are with you."