AURORA, Colo. — Some recited the names of the dead. Some are doing good deeds for their neighbors. And some will practice yoga, take a nature walk or simply talk.
Colorado residents looked for ways to heal as they marked the anniversary of the Aurora movie theater massacre with a city-sponsored “Day of Remembrance.”
It was one year ago Saturday that a gunman opened fire early into a packed midnight screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.” The rampage lasted less than two minutes but left deep wounds that still ache today in Aurora, Colorado’s third-largest city on Denver’s eastern side.
Twelve people died, including a 6-year-old girl. Seventy were hurt, some of them paralyzed. Countless others inside the theater and out bear the invisible wounds of emotional trauma.
“There’s no script for something like this,” said Nancy Sheffield, who helped plan the Day of Remembrance. What the city wants, she said, is “the ultimate way to remember the victims, the families, the survivors, in a healing way and going forward for our community.”
Parents, siblings and survivors of those slain gathered early Saturday on the lawn outside Aurora’s City Hall for a ceremony of prayer, song and remarks from Mayor Steve Hogan and Gov. John Hickenlooper.
For the rest of the day, residents were encouraged to volunteer for community projects ranging from painting at a church to tending a community garden, from sorting food bank donations to donating blood.
Spiritual and mental health counselors were available, along with art therapy projects and poetry readings.
Democratic state Rep. Rhonda Fields, whose district includes the renamed Cinemark theater, said she is still numb.
“It hasn’t fully mended after a year,” she said.