WKU remembers slain at vigil

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

Western Kentucky University students and staff gather to pay tribute to the lives lost in the April 16, 2007, shooting spree at Virginia Tech.

Nearly 3,000 students gathered on the WKU campus' South Lawn for the event.

The vigil had music, a student-made film chronicling Monday's horrific events and the lighting of 33 candles in shape of the Virginia Tech logo in memory of the 33 people who died.

The theme of the night was written on a banner that read, "Today We Are All Hokies," referring to the school's nickname. These banners were signed by WKU students, faculty and staff will be sent to Virginia Tech in the next couple of weeks.

"I cried. I basically prayed to God saying, 'Take care of my friends and family because it could have happened here,' you never know," WKU senior, Ashley Turner said.

Through tears and hurt the thousands of students gathered to grieve along with the rest of the nation.

"I really just wanted to pray for families. I wanted to pray for those who lost loved ones," WKU junior, Tori Rogers said.

"A lot of students here at Western know students or know faculty. They've got friends who went to Virginia Tech so this is an outlet for them also to come and mourn and grieve," event coordinator, Azurdee Garland said.

WKU sophomore, Beth Pope said seeing the images of the carnage and its victims, made Monday's shootings all the more real.

"Seeing the faces was very personal. I became very emotional - just really hitting home that they had a life just like I did," Pope said.

Signs, candles, prayers and balloons served as tribute to the fallen Virginia Tech students.

However it might have been the coming together of the Western family in remembrance of others, that might have meant the most on this painful night.

"It makes me feel good that so many people have respect for human life in itself and know that everyone is important to someone," Turner said.

"I saw everyone hold up the candles and other people were taking pictures, but I don't need a picture. I pray I can always just remember it in my mind," Rogers said.

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