Nightly News   |  July 20, 2013

Aurora holds solemn day of remembrance

Coloradans paid tribute to the victims of the Aurora movie theater massacre with a city-sponsored "Day of Remembrance" marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting on Saturday. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.

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>>> it was a solemn day to remember in aurora, colorado, today, one year ago a gunman opened fire in a movie theater leaving 12 people dead. dozens wounded, and a nation in shock. nbc's rehema ellis is -- is reporting tonight on the long healing process .

>> reporter: this morning at aurora people stopped for a day of remembrance .

>> this has been a tough year for us.

>> reporter: families held on to each other, they listened to songs. amazing grace

>> reporter: and they cried as bells tolled, once for each of the 12 people killed that night, when a heavily armed gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater . 13-year-old jasmine lost a friend. why was it important for you to be here today?

>> to still remember the people that we've lost. we wish they could be here with us today.

>> reporter: jasmine came to honor her boyfriend, he died saving her life that night.

>> i needed to memorialize, and it's better than just sitting home and crying.

>> just really blessed to know that i'm still here to take care of my kids.

>> reporter: one year later joshua nolan, an iraq war veteran and father of two young boys is grateful. he's walking and able to use his hand again. you were not injured in the military and you come home --

>> and you get shot in a movie theater . yep.

>> reporter: he says the process of healing is long and painful. and it's not just the physical part.

>> walk in there, sit back in the same seat, face my demons. i knew that's something i had to do so i could move forward.

>> reporter: kristen davis and eugene hawn, who also survived the shooting, couldn't make it to the memorial service . it's their wedding day.

>> so instead of her rerunning the memories every year, you know, i thought let's just make it a good memory, and have you smile about that day.

>> reporter: and in a statement takes the right to own guns very seriously the shooting here has led to the passage of some of the toughest gun control measures in the country. one of them demands universal background checks. harry?

>> rehema ellis, live in colorado tonight. thank you.