For most in Aurora, Colo., the date July 20 will forever be linked with tragedy, as that was the day in 2012 when suspect James Holmes allegedly opened fire at an Aurora movie theater, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others.
But for Eugene Han, 21, and Kristin Davis, 22, childhood friends who both survived the Aurora mass shooting, that date will now be more about bliss than terror. The couple got married Saturday, July 20, on the one-year anniversary of the massacre.
"This is a happy day," Davis told 9News Denver. "We're trying to take it and make something positive out of it."
Han proposed April 9, when the couple was on vacation in South Padre Island, Texas. At first, Davis was apprehensive about getting married on the same date as the tragic mass shooting.
"I was kind of uncomfortable about the idea because I didn't think it was okay to take a bad day and turn it into a good day, so I had to really think about it," Davis told ABC News. But the 22-year-old needed only 30 minutes to make up her mind.
"I think it would be a good date to have our wedding," she told the news outlet the day before the nuptials. "That way we can make good memories and start a new chapter of our lives rather than allowing this memory from a year ago to stick with us every single year."
- USA Today has footage of the Aurora survivors’ wedding here, which Han said was originally supposed to be a modest affair.
"A lot of people have been helping," he told ABC News. "We were planning on having a small wedding but it kind of grew every day into a big ceremony."
Robert McClendon, senior pastor of the Village East Baptist Church in Aurora, choked up at the start of the service.
"On behalf of the bride and groom, we are glad that you've joined us for this very special time of worship and celebration," McClendon said, according to 9News Denver. "This is a celebration, it's a celebration of your wedding. But for you guys, it's way bigger, because it's a celebration of really God joining together two of his children in the sacred institution of marriage."
McClendon said Han and Davis survived the shooting through God’s work, and said their marriage one year later was a sign.
God “chose both of you for a purpose one year ago today at 12:38 this morning or around that time God again saved you and your friends who are standing here with you today in what we call the Aurora theater shooting," the pastor said. "He wanted to see the union of a godly young man and a godly young woman to show the world what a godly marriage would look like."
Han said he believed in that message.
"All I want to tell the world is that Jesus is the one and only true savior," Han told 9News. "If you accept him, he can save you to spiritually, but that night he did save me physically."