"Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Crystal Woodman Miller wrote this letter in honor of the lives lost on April 20, 1999.

I woke up to a fresh blanket of snow covering the ground this morning. It feels like heaven wept; wept for us here in the Columbine community as we remember this day twenty-two years ago and how the bullets pierced our innocence and shattered our safety. It wept for Cassie, Steven, Corey, Kelly, Matthew, Daniel, Dan, Coach Sanders, Rachel, Isaiah, John, Lauren, and Kyle—those ripped from our lives all too soon. It wept for every single student, and staff member who can close their eyes and still hear the wailing of the sirens, the low rumble of the helicopters overhead, and who can still feel the fear coercing through their veins. It wept for the parents who wondered if their babies would come home and for those who had to bury theirs in the earth. 

The heavens wept for the thousands upon thousands who have been impacted by the insanity and the cruelty that plagues us daily. It wept for my friends around the world, in Boulder, Parkland, Aurora, South Carolina, Newtown, Paducah, Thurston, Platte Canyon, Colorado Springs, El Paso, Sutherland Springs, Virginia Tech, Orlando, Borderline, STEM, Arapahoe, and the countless others.  

Our collective grief and sorrow outnumber the flakes that have fallen. 

But after every snowstorm, there is sunshine. Even now, as I write, the warmth of the sun is shining brilliantly upon us, melting the cold and frost away. And I am reminded light shines most bright through the darkness. Through those of us who have come face to face with unspeakable darkness and have chosen instead to turn our face toward the light of a new day and walk bravely forward. 

“Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  

So, to each of you carrying that torch of light, keep going, don’t give up. Brighter days ahead.

Because I know for a fact darkness does not win—light does, love does! 

Together, let's be the light this broken world needs.

An Open Letter From Columbine Survivor Crystal Woodman Miller