Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aurora connections bring tragedy closer to home

My 19-year-old daughter was at the midnight showing in Cheyenne of "The Dark Knight Rises" on Thursday night. When I awoke Friday morning, I had no idea about the shootings in Aurora. I skipped the news and watched the Weather Channel to see how hot it was going to get in Cheyenne. Very hot, as it turns out in this normally temperate place. It wasn't until I got to work and fired up the computer that I understood the scope of the tragedy. Sick at heart -- that would be a good way to describe it. I was sad for my home state of Colorado, site of so much tragedy with this summer's fires. I was sad for Aurora, too, the now-huge Denver suburb that was the site of my parents' first house, one that was a block away from the old Fitzsimons Army Medical Center where, as fate would have it, was the place where my paternal grandparents met after World War I. He was a soldier recuperating from gas attacks and she was a nurse. Fitzsimons closed in 1999 and that now houses the sprawling hospital campus where many of the shooting wounded were taken. When we moved from Florida to Denver 30-plus years ago, my wife and I lived in an apartment in Aurora. It all hits close to home. But you don't have to have any connection to Colorado at all to be affected by this. Any of us could have been in that movie theater. One of the wounded was on a cross-country jaunt and decided, on a whim, to go to a movie Thursday night. A young female sports reporter had to talk her boyfriend into going to the film in Aurora that night. She didn't make it. While I can only imagine the loss that her family feels, I have enough empathy to do so. It is a tragedy and our prayers are with you all.

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