PSU honors Virginia Tech victims with candlelight vigil PDF Print E-mail
Written by ANDREA VanVALKENBURG, Staff Writer   
Friday, April 20, 2007

Online Editor's Note:
Click here to see unpublished photos from this event.
PLATTSBURGH — Flickering candlelight illuminated the darkened Plattsburgh State campus Thursday night as about 200 people gathered to mourn the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre.
Scattered groups of supporters steadily streamed into the Amite Plaza to honor and remember the victims of the shooting spree that claimed the lives of 32 Virginia Tech students and professors earlier this week.
A sullen hush swept through the crowd as they began to remorsefully recall the tragic events and observe a moment of silence.
"We're here together, really as a family, to mourn," said Plattsburgh State President Dr. John Ettling, as he continued the emotional service by sharing words of support with the somber audience.
Shock and sadness swept through the Plattsburgh campus Monday when students heard the news of Cho Seung-Hui's shooting rampage inside a Virginia Tech dormitory and educational building. He ultimately took his own life, which brought the death toll to 33.


"I was shocked. I didn't know what to think. I still can't make sense of it all," said Lynn Stewart, a junior English major, who was in her dorm room when she heard the devastating news. "It definitely hits home and makes you think. It could happen anywhere."
Sophomore Judaisy Martinez was still coping with the tragedy Thursday night.
"I just had a pain in my heart. It's so sad to know that we kill each other like that," said the English-education major. "I just can't imagine how the families must feel."
Community members, like Lynn Valenti, also turned out to honor the victims and remember the many promising futures that were cut short by the sudden violent attack.

"I just feel so bad about what happened. I was just torn apart when I heard about it," said the Plattsburgh resident and former Peru Central German teacher. "I just got up and cried."
For the last three days, students have poured into the Angell College Center to show their support to Virginia Tech students and staff by penning their personal messages of sympathy and support on a blanket that will be mailed to the university.
The "Support Sheet" will make its way to the Blacksburg campus next week, along with an upcoming resolution that will officially mark the widespread support of the local campus.
"Everyone was really supportive. As soon as they heard what we were doing, they wanted to sign their own messages of support," said Student Association President Kim Garrison, who helped organize the vigil.
"There was a good number of students who knew people down there and were affected by it."
Like most students across the nation, Garrison was shocked when she heard about the largest single-gunman massacre in United States history.
"The first thing that came to mind was to make sure our students were safe and make sure they knew about our counseling and support services on campus," Garrison said.
"Then my thoughts went out to all the victims and everyone who was affected (by the killings)."
Similar memorial services have been scheduled on college campuses across the nation in the days following the shootings, including at Paul Smith's College.
Students there will be holding a candlelight memorial Monday night, marking the one-week anniversary of the tragedy that has since scarred the nation.



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