A Bittersweet Graduation

Columbine High School seniors graduated Saturday, without four class members who died in last month's shooting at the school. Two of the victims and the two shooters were seniors.

Lauren Townsend, one of the valedictorians, was killed in the shooting. Her mother carried her cap and gown to the ceremony. Neither Lauren nor murdered classmate Isaiah Shoels were ever far from anyone's mind, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod. Shoels' parents did not attend.

There was no mention of the gunmen during the ceremony.

One school official said Saturday's ceremony is another step in the healing process for Columbine students. Many seniors and their families said they wanted the ceremony to be as happy and normal as possible.

Graduation speaker Sara Martin said to the crowd: "Because of what occurred on April 20th, I must recognize what I have learned: to love deeply and to appreciate every word and every gesture and every person I love or will love."

It was just over a month ago when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold terrorized the school - killing 12 students, a teacher and then themselves.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the killings continues.

A Columbine High School student gravely wounded in the attack returned to the site of the massacre. A family lawyer said Lance Kirklin visited the school grounds Friday with his father and with investigators in the case.

President Clinton Thursday visited on the one-month anniversary of the Columbine massacre which left 15 dead.

"What happened to you has pierced the soul of America," the president said.

"Something profound has happened to your country because of this," Mr. Clinton told Columbine students, parents, faculty and community members. He said that when Columbine seniors graduate, "America will be cheering you on."




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Nearly 2,000 people packed gymnasium to hear the president. The audience cheered, whstled and applauded at word that two wounded youths had left their hospital beds to be at the speech - Sean Graves and Patrick Ireland, who was pulled from a second story window by police the day of the shootings.

Mrs. Clinton said she was impressed by the community's strength and "your refusal to let violence and hatred win."

Click here for information on The Lives That Were Lost
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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