“The Force will be with you, always” #30DaysofStarWarsShirts Day 30

So here we are at the final shirt and I decided to end it at the beginning of the prequel trilogy.  As you can tell from the shirt, I bought this at the first Star Wars Celebration in Denver.  This was a great time with one of my best friends, but it also a very somber one.

When I found out about the Celebration, I asked my friends who wants to attend it with me.  I bought our passes, booked a hotel room and booked our flight arrangements.  This was one of the first times I was traveling somewhere on my own, without parents, and it was an exciting idea.

As the days for the trip was getting closer, so was my excitement to attend. Then it happened.  The Columbine High School shooting.  This was the first time that a school shooting had ever happened.  I do not think the term “school shooting” was in our lexicon at this time.  This tragedy was shown on ever local news media outlet and they were all in Denver to cover the story.

The shooting occurred just 10 days before the celebration and I began to have second thoughts about going.  I felt a little guilty about going to Denver and enjoying myself after this horrible incident just occurred.  I decided that this would be a once in a lifetime event and I was not going to change my mind.

Once in Denver you could feel the excitement for the celebration, but you could also sense the sadness in the city.  There were people from all the the world at this event and you really felt the sense of community just walking around and looking at the props, panels and vendors.

Throughout the convention center there were donation boxes for the families of the Columbine victims and everyday those boxes were full.  Every. Day.

Seeing this showed me why I loved being part of the Star Wars community.  You have fans from all over the world gathering for everything Star Wars, but yet still helping out others in need.  Just walking the floors you felt that sense of family among the people.  While waiting in line we would strike up conversations with people and it would be like we’ve been friends for years.

One moment I remember was literally bumping into Alice Cooper. I stood there shocked that he was just walking around, but I smiled at him and he nodded back and we kept walking.  He was there as a fan and I think that was the coolest thing that he was just there walking amongst all of us.

Since then, I have gone to the next two celebrations in Indianapolis, but have not been able to attend them every year.  This is an experience I want to share with my kids and hopefully when they are older we will be able to attend one together as a family.

That trip to Denver showed me what the Star Wars community was about.  It’s not just about costumes, toys and getting autographs from celebrities. It’s about making new friends and helping out those around you too.

With the announcement of new movies coming out in the upcoming years, it seems like Star Wars will always be around. I can’t wait to see what these movies have to offer, going to see them with my kids and maybe attending a celebration or two.

Thanks for reading.

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