Colorado has been through hell.
Early this summer, half the state burned, and hundreds of Colorado families lost everything. In July, the world watched as we mourned the loss of 12 people, injuries to 59 and the disbelief in the inhumanity of one. Now, this state faces another loss — the death of a child.
The disappearance and murder of Jessica Ridgeway is a sickening example of the worst that the human race has to offer. And, in the aftermath of events like these, it is hard to maintain trust in those around us.
Five years ago, we lost four people in church shootings that spanned cities and spread hatred. Six years ago, a sophomore at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colo. was murdered in a school shooting standoff. In 1999, at Columbine High School, we lost 13 people in what can only be described as an act of pure evil.
We’ve seen tornadoes rip our towns apart. We’ve seen our shopping malls rigged with bombs. We’ve endured freezes, droughts and floods.
However, it is also in the wake of these tragic times that we see some of the bravest acts of human courage and kindness.
After a summer this difficult, it seems the darkest rain cloud is looming overhead — but the people of the centennial state are nothing if not perseverant, and the community responses to tragedies like these are remarkable.
Roughly $5 million was raised to help the victims of the Aurora shooting, according to The Denver Post on Oct. 15.
Following this summer’s wildfires, Coloradans not only donated to big-name charities, but also started their own, such as Wildfire Tees and the Waldo Canyon Fire Photographers. Now, following Jessica’s murder, Colorado is decked out in purple ribbons.
There isn’t much that can be said to ease the ache of a summer this raw, but even if there was, the people of this state wouldn’t need to hear it.
Time after time, Coloradans have bounced back from tragedy and have pulled together to rebuild. We have learned how to grieve, but we have also learned how to live.
And we have learned how to hope.
It is this that makes Colorado so strong — belief in the face of the formidable and faith during the unthinkable.
Even as our hearts break for the loss of one of our children, we don’t let the bad guys win — that’s not who we are.
We carry on, we fight back, and we heal.
There’s a reason that courage starts with “CO.”