By Rick Sallinger

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Four years after 12 people were killed at an Aurora movie theater, the effort for a permanent memorial to the victims is more than halfway to its goal.

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(credit: CBS)

The 7/20 Memorial Foundation has been asking for donations through moving appeals like an internet video narrated by a sister of one of those who died.

Megan Sullivan lost her brother Alex. Now she and others are trying to raise funds to build a memorial here.

“On July 20, 2012, my family’s life changed forever,” she says on the video.

The effort to build the memorial is a little over half way to its $200,000 goal.

LINK: 7/20 Memorial Fundraiser

It is to be built at the corner of Alameda Parkway and Chambers Road by the Aurora Municipal Center and not far from the theater where the shooting took place. It happened at a midnight showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Heather Dearman (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews Heather Dearman (credit: CBS)

Heather Dearman’s cousin Veronica Moser was the youngest to die in the shooting. Veronica’s mother Ashley Moser lost a pregnancy and is confined to a wheelchair. Dearman told CBS4 she hopes the memorial will be a beautiful garden.

“It’ll be a peaceful place to come and reflect for those who lost their loved ones,” she said.

While some people would like to put the tragedy behind them others have opened their hearts and their pocketbooks.

Tiina Coon (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews Tiina Coon (credit: CBS)

Tiina Coon is on the memorial committee.

“It’s proof that Aurora is strong and can rise above. This is a place to reflect, a positive thing for our community,” she said.

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AURORA THEATER SHOOTING: Story Archive | Timeline | Remembering The Victims

Benches will be erected for each of the victims killed. They will stand in a memorial garden.

An ice cream social event was held at the memorial site on Wednesday and pastors from local churches observed the anniversary with a prayer gathering outside the municipal building.

Steve Hogan was mayor that day in 2012 and is still mayor today.

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan (credit: CBS)

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan (credit: CBS)

“Things change, but just because they change it doesn’t mean you forget what happened,” he said.

Forgetting is impossible for Theresa Hoover, whose son AJ Boik was another of the dozen lives taken.

Four years after the incident she says, “What goes through my mind today is not the worst day, the worst day has happened.”

Theresa Hoover (credit: CBS)

Theresa Hoover (credit: CBS)

She added that she will come to the memorial to “reflect on the good instead of what happened.”

A total of $90,000 more in donations are needed before the committee can put out a call for proposals for the memorial. A Facebook page announces fundraising events.

LINK: 7/20 Memorial Foundation Facebook Page

It is to be a place for healing. It is hoped the memorial might be ready in time for next year’s fifth anniversary
of the tragedy.

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CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.