PARKLAND, Fla. (FOX 35 Orlando) - One year ago, 17 lives were cut tragically short in Parkland, Florida. A mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting shocked South Florida community and the nation. It also launched a large student movement across the country.
On Thursday, classes were dismissed at 11:40 a.m., and loved ones of the victims asked the community to find acts of kindness to carry out in their memory. Fewer than 10 percent of students showed up for school on the anniversary
“He was a really great kid, he was fun to be around, he always made you smile, said senior Spencer Blum, describing his friend, Nick Dworet. “We’ll get through this; it might just take some time.”
Outside the school, flowers and mementos were clustered at the northeast corner of the campus. Ten minutes away, in neighboring city Coral Springs, an elaborate plywood temple was built by an artist - known for his work at the Burning Man Festival -- where people could leave messages from the heart. Someone wrote on a pillar, "Sorry I couldn’t Help." In May, it will be set on fire as part of a healing ceremony.
“Everyone says the first-year anniversary is the worst and in some cases worse than the actual event, and in my case, I think it is,” Blum said.
That’s because Spencer said on the day of the shooting, the adrenaline was pumping and he was filled with sheer terror. However, on the first anniversary, the emotions are the strongest, he added.
“So it’s very overwhelming, and it’s a lot, but we have a really great community here in Parkland. It’s very resilient, very strong, and we’re all together getting through this as one,” Blum said.