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    Posted July 20, 2013 by
    Aurora, Colorado
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    First Person: Your essays

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    Aurora is Healing


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Adam Witt was in Theater 9 at a Century cinema in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012. He and his wife emerged from the theater shooting with minor physical injuries, and one year later, he attended a memorial for those lost. The Aurora Strong Resiliency Center offers counseling to locals, and when Witt attended, he says they talked about 'personal experiences related to our recovery' and created signs for the vigil service held on the shooting's anniversary.

    'During the vigil memorial, I quietly viewed the crosses and signs that were put up and talked with a few people. During the prayer circle, I stood on the far side away from the memorial site. There was a sense of silent respect, remembrance, and remorse among the people,' he says. 'Some people were very vocal about their passionate feelings, while others were totally silent.'

    At 12:40 a.m., a police procession drove by the vigil-goers. 'It was very touching and reminded me of the heroism and courage shown by those men and women a year ago,' Witt says. 'Everyone applauding felt like we finally had a chance to thank them properly.' Read Witt's iReport from a year ago here.
    - jccarp, CNN iReport producer

    One year later, the pain is still here.


    It’s difficult to believe it’s been a year. For many of us in Aurora, the pain still feels fresh. It has been difficult, and for each person there is a different way to cope. Some stray from theaters for months, while others visit only days later to confront their fears. I’ve had the privilege to see the healing that the community has undergone. There is a new Aurora Strong Resiliency Center, where survivors of the shooting and other traumatic events are always welcome. Attending a meeting showed me one thing above all else: Aurora is strong, Aurora is healing.


    Tonight, away from cameras and flashing lights in every direction, there was a private memorial held in honor of those we lost. As we held candles in circle, the moment was one of the most special events I have ever been to. We shared our thoughts and prayers, and spoke that while there is evil in the world, the good always outweighs the bad. Just as the remarks had finished, a procession of police cruisers drove down the road behind us, their lights flashing in respect for that night. As they did, everyone applauded them in respect and gratitude of their courage and diligence on that night, one year ago. It was 12:45 AM.


    Alfred once said that “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” We met face to face with one of those men a year ago – though I am proud to proclaim that the world did not burn at his terror. Aurora did not burn, but came together stronger as a community to support and love when it was most needed.


    Aurora is healing. Aurora Rises.

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