I read She said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall by Misty Bernall yesterday. Cassie's mother's expresses that her daughter's death matters more or at least as much as what lead to her answer of "Yes" at the hands of the Columbine shooters, than that she simply said "Yes."
She makes the case that without faith and parents that happened to find out that their child was in trouble, Cassie could have had a very different, but equally infamous life. The story is of what was--as well as what could have been--for a deeply troubled, but incredibly determined teen.
It is the power of a mother's love that hopes all things, that brings us Cassie's story. Her mother asks "why my daughter?" "My death is not my own, but yours, and its significance depends on what you do with it" she quotes from a Hebrew prayer service for fallen soldiers. What significance does her daughter's death have?
Whether or not the exchange between the gunman and Cassie actually took place, which is apparently debatable, doesn't really matter. We want that exchange to have happened. She's a heroine. For evil to have looked into the face of good, and for good, even in the face of death, to have triumphed is uplifting. Faith does not come easily for Cassie, nor most of us. Yet, in the end, when it was really all that mattered, it did come. She was not alone, and she did not doubt. So, it isn't the truth of the exchange that matters. The significance is the desire within us to answer "Yes."