Sisters See Columbine Anniversary As Turning Point

Sisters Kim (left) and Patti Blair in 1999. i i

Sisters Kim (left) and Patti Blair in 1999. Family photo hide caption

itoggle caption Family photo
Sisters Kim (left) and Patti Blair in 1999.

Sisters Kim (left) and Patti Blair in 1999.

Family photo
Sisters Kim (right) Blair and Patti Hansen in 2008. i i

Patti (right) and Kim last year. Family photo hide caption

itoggle caption Family photo
Sisters Kim (right) Blair and Patti Hansen in 2008.

Patti (right) and Kim last year.

Family photo

Courtesy Colorado Public Radio

Ten years ago Monday, two boys went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Colorado. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 13 people at the suburban Denver school before taking their own lives. Many students were witness to the horrific killings and have had to deal with the repercussions ever since.

In 1999, Colorado Public Radio gave one student, junior Kim Blair, a tape recorder so she and her twin sister, Patti, could describe how they were feeling in the days after the attacks.

The audio diary is still hard to listen to. On the day of the shooting, Kim was eating lunch outside with friends, including her best friend, Ann Marie Hochhalter. "We were sitting there, talking," she recalls. "And we saw Dylan and Eric come; we saw them put down the bags and they started shooting. Ann Marie was the third person I had seen shot."

Hochhalter survived, but was paralyzed. Two others outside were killed. The shooters went on to storm the school's library, where Kim's twin sister, Patti, was studying.

Patti heard the gunmen approaching and hit the floor. "My friend and I were under the table," she remembers. "Eric glanced underneath our table with his gun and stood back up and walked to the table behind us and shot the people there."

Ten people died in the library, but the killers chose not to shoot Patti. "I knew I had a guardian angel that day," she says. "I just don't understand why those other people in the library did not."

Ten years later, Patti is a computer programmer and Kim is a teacher. Both say time has helped a great deal. The flashbacks have gone away and they don't constantly think about those who died.

They see this year's anniversary as a turning point. "This is the year that I think we can finally put it behind us and start seeing it as a piece of our lives and not having it be our lives," Kim says.

Zachary Barr reports for Colorado Public Radio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.