Honoring the Victims of the Aurora Movie Theater Shooting

On Saturday, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet will participate in Aurora’s Day of Remembrance, beginning with a community gathering at the Aurora Municipal Center. He will also stop in at various service centers after the gathering, including the new Aurora Strong Community Resilience Center.

Yesterday, Bennet spoke on the Senate floor about the victims who lost their lives and paid tribute to the survivors, families, and first responders whose lives were changed forever that night.

His floor statement follows:

“Madam President, on Saturday, July 20, Colorado will commemorate a solemn anniversary because a year ago, almost exactly to the day, in Aurora, CO, a theater full of people, who at that moment wanted nothing more than to escape the heat and enjoy a movie with their family and with friends, found themselves in the middle of a senseless and violent tragedy. A gunman opened fire and took 12 lives a year ago, innocent people, loved by family and by friends. He physically wounded scores of others.

“Days later, as this photo shows, thousands of Coloradoans attended a vigil hosted by the city of Aurora. We shared tears and prayers. We also resolved to support each other, to heal, and to always remember those who lost their lives--which is what brings me here today.

“Since that time, we have continued to see an outpouring of support all across Colorado and, for that matter, all across the United States of America for those we lost, their loved ones, and for the city of Aurora. The grace and courage of the families and survivors affected by this terrible tragedy serve as a powerful reminder to all of us of the resilience of the human spirit.

“Today we remember the victims, victims such as Jessica, an aspiring young journalist; Rebecca, a mother of two who joined the Air Force after high school; and Veronica Moser Sullivan, age 6, who had just learned to swim and loved to play dressup.

“We also remember the acts of heroism and the resolution demonstrated by so many Coloradoans in the aftermath of this tragedy, people such as Matt McQuinn, who threw himself in front of his girlfriend on the night of the shooting, saving her life; and the brave first responders and volunteers who helped save lives and comforted those in shock and heartbreak.

“We remember the city of Aurora and the State of Colorado, which has once again come together to help one another through unspeakable loss and heartache.

“At a recent service of over 3,000 people at the Potter's House, an Aurora-based church, Rev. Chris Hill told those in attendance that ``We believe morning is coming to Aurora. Aurora means the dawn.'' I think that captures the spirit of resilience and toughness that characterized Aurora, my beautiful State of Colorado, and these United States of America.

“Before I leave the floor, I want to read once again the names of the victims in Aurora: Jon Blunk, AJ Boik, Jesse Childress, Gordon Cowden, Jessica Ghawi, John Larimer, Matt McQuinn, Micayla Medek, Veronica Moser, Alex Sullivan, Alex Teves, and Rebecca Wingo.

“I yield the floor.”