Not everyone was as lucky as Melia Schurig.

12 people were killed with another 70 injured in the 2012 mass shooting at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora on July 20, 2012.

Melia was visiting her sister from out of state and they decided to go to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight on that fateful July night.

She said about 10 minutes into the movie during a scene of gunfire and shooting, a door near her opened up and suddenly there was the sound of popping and a lot of smoke. The gunman had thrown a smoke bomb into the crowded theater.

Initially, not many people reacted, thinking it was just a part of the special screening. At that point, the gunman went into an adjoining theater and opened fire. She said bullets started coming through the wall, with one striking her friend in the arm. At that point, they knew it was time to leave, though nobody else seemed to be leaving or knew what was going on.

By the time her group made it outside, police were arriving and scores of people were rushing out of the theater. There was a place along the curb where the most injured people were waiting for ambulances. She said the ambulances were full, and cop cars began transporting injured victims. Melia said there just weren't enough people to help all of the injured. By this time, the gunman had been apprehended but as she said, "the damage was done."

She goes on to talk about how that night has changed her life and affects her every time she is in a large crowd.

So many lives were lost or forever changed that night in Aurora, since then, across the country, countless other lives have been snuffed out suddenly and unexpectedly by a deranged gunman. Sadly, there will be more.

While we can't live in fear, we should be vigilant and watchful going about the activities of our lives. We pray the Grand Valley never has to experience a senseless tragedy such as this, but it's not inconceivable.

This holiday season, embrace your loved ones. Forgive and reconcile with those who have hurt you. Don't take your family for granted. Never assume you will necessarily have another opportunity to be with them. Love them up and always treat them as if it's the last time you're going to see them because one of these times could be that last time.

[WIKIPEDIA]

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