Man's memorial to 13 victims of school shooting comes to area; Carpenter's initiative to remember and honor slain Columbine students


The 13 crosses of Columbine are coming to Anne Arundel County -- reminders of the students and teacher whose lives were tragically cut short in the massacre in April at the high school in Littleton, Colo.

Greg Zanis, a carpenter from Aurora, Ill., set up the crosses on a hill near Columbine High School, and in recent months has taken them on a tour that has reached more than 55 communities nationwide.

He is scheduled to set them up Tuesday at Broadneck Evangelical Presbyterian Church's farmhouse at 235 Bay Dale Drive in Arnold, where they will remain through Friday.

Camp Blaze, a 10-year-old local nonprofit group that runs educational programs for parents and their children, is organizing the display, with help from a $750 grant from the county's Department of Recreation and Parks and several businesses. Organizers say they hope to bring attention to the need for open communication between parents and teen-agers.

"Greg will work with them to construct replica crosses and talk with them," said Cheryl Carnwath, Camp Blaze president. "Kids come with so many different issues."

Carnwath said the display will be complemented by booths from which counselors and youth leaders will be promoting their services and programs. It will be open daily from 3 p.m. to about 9 p.m., Carnwath said.

Carnwath said she first saw the crosses in June at a Christian youth retreat in Mount Union, Pa. Each has a portrait of a victim of the massacre, in which Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris stormed into their Colorado high school April 20 and opened fire, killing 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives.

Each cross is covered with inscriptions from friends and family.

"It's incredibly powerful," Carnwath said. "The messages that the kids wrote on the crosses are very moving."

On Friday night, Carnwath said, Zanis will hold a candlelight vigil as he takes down the crosses and prepares for the next destination, Detroit.

Zanis began building memorial crosses in January 1996 when his father-in-law was murdered. Since then, through his ministry, "Crosses for Losses," Zanis has built hundreds of them at sites where people have died tragically.

With his own money, Carnwath said, Zanis began taking the crosses across the country -- reaching out with his memorial to places as diverse as Alpharetta, Ga., and Kansas City.

Pub Date: 10/24/99

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad