By Dan Whitcomb
LITTLETON, Colo. (Reuters) - One week after she danced at her senior prom looking like a movie star, a 17-year-old aspiring actress was buried Saturday, in the first of 15 funerals for those killed in the Columbine High School shooting rampage.
Nearly 3,000 people stood and sang ``Amazing Grace'' in tribute to Rachel Scott. Tearful friends and relatives wrote goodbye messages in black marker on her white wooden casket, telling her they would see her in heaven.
For a short while the horror of what happened Tuesday when Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, mowed down 12 fellow students and one teacher before taking their own lives, was forgotten.
Instead, schoolmates, friends and relatives spoke of the pretty teenager, who was devoutly religious, but also enjoyed a cigarette once in a while.
Nick Baumgarten, her date for last Saturday's prom, spoke of how beautiful she looked and that the sunglasses she wore made her look like a starlet.
``I swear she was a movie star, I swear it,'' Baumgarten said, recalling the senior prom.
Pastor Bruce Porter at Trinity Christian Center, a converted Kmart store that was full of flowers, called Scott a ''modern-day martyr.''
He remembered how she had wanted to graduate early so she could travel with a Christian drama team and be a missionary that puts on religious plays. ``You graduated early, you have a graduated to a better life,'' Porter said.
He also exhorted the young people in the church, many of whom were crying, to try to live as good a life as Rachel Scott had.
``The torch has fallen from Rachel's hand. Which one of you will pick it up again?'' Hundreds of teenagers immediately stood up with their arms outstretched as if they were holding a torch.
The pastor recalled the terror of Tuesday's bloody massacre at the Littleton, Colorado, school when the two heavily armed gunmen, out for vengeance, shot at everyone in sight.
``Prayer was established again in our public schools last Tuesday. What the judiciary couldn't do -- what the churches couldn't do -- the children did for themselves,'' Porter said.
Friends passed out at packets of columbine seeds -- the state flower of Colorado -- at the funeral.
Scott's burial service was the first of 15 for the victims of Tuesday's violence. A memorial service was held Friday for 16-year-old John Tomlin, who will be buried in his native Wisconsin.