DENVER (CBS4) – A large memorial for Arapahoe High School shooting victim Claire Davis was held at the National Western Events Complex on Wednesday.
The venue was chosen because Davis was an equestrian and a competitor.
She had won many awards and championships and was scheduled to compete there at this year’s National Western Stock Show.
Inside the venue thousands of people came out to honor and celebrate her life.
“The world was a better place with her in it. The world has lost a shining light,” said Claire’s father, Michael Davis.
Disiree and Michael Davis invited thousands to be here, from friends to strangers, to celebrate their daughter’s life in a time when they’re grieving.
“But if that’s all we do is grieve, then we missed the message of who Claire was,” said Columbine United Church Pastor Steve Poos-Benson.
Claire was an avid equestrian and a friend to many.
She’s remembered for being child-like but not childish.
And she was Alex Chapman’s girlfriend. The two met in a western civilizations class.
“I looked at her and said, ‘wow she would be someone amazing to be with,’” said Chapman.
Guests at the memorial included the Arapahoe High School community, Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, Governor John Hickenlooper and other dignitaries.
They spoke to offer a sense of healing but it was Claire’s father who said it’s his daughter’s last words that were poignant and even profound.
“She said, ‘oh my gosh Karl what are you doing?’ The fact is he was so blinded by his emotion he didn’t know what he was doing,” said Davis.
Davis expressed compassion and forgiveness for shooter Karl Pierson.
“My wife and I forgive Karl Pierson for what he did because he didn’t know what he was doing. We ask all of you here to search your hearts and forgive Karl Pierson,” said Davis.
“We must strive for kindness, compassion, peace and love to maintain our humanity. We can’t allow anger, rage or hatred take root.”