Pat Ireland, "the boy in the window," admits he has mixed feelings about the first anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.
"It's going to be a tough time. But I'm going to hit it straight on and get through it," he said Thursday evening.
"On that day, the support of my friends and family will make the difference," said Ireland, whose rescue from the library window at the high school was watched by millions last April 20.
Ireland said remembering the victims was more important than trying to figure who or what to blame.
He rattled off a list of possible causes and culprits, those who have been blamed, ranging from schools to parents to guns, before concluding: "There were contributing factors but the ultimate blame rests in the hands of two young men full of hate and out to kill."
His best friend, Matt Varney, added, "A vision of kindness cannot be forced or legislated."
Still, Varney pleaded for "parents to listen to your kids."
Ireland and Varney said it is important for people to talk about what happened. Ireland said, "On this April 20 don't forget that it is the act of remembering that gives dignity to our suffering."
Ireland and Varney, both seniors, appeared at a meeting at Denver's Civic Center honoring Colorado schoolchildren who have performed heroic actions. They shuddered as sirens from passing emergency vehicles erupted and blared for 30 seconds.
"The recovery process has been long, and I have a lot left to do. I'm doing fairly well. I'm coming along," said Ireland, who still walks with a slight limp.
Varney said Ireland, who will be one of the prom royalty this weekend, has been an inspiration to all those victimized by the assault at Columbine.
"He's inspired me to do my best, to never give up, because he never gives up."
Ireland's mother, Kathy, said, "He's done well. He's working hard and he's dedicated. And he's given a lot of support to others."
Melissa Helmbrecht, who organized Thursday night's meeting, said, "Matt and Pat have turned a tragedy to a personal triumph."
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