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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Community honors Va. Tech deaths

    Ross Abdallah Alameddine.

    Ryan Clark.

    Kevin Granata.

    Name after name of those killed in the Virginia Tech massacre was read yesterday as students listened around the Old Main fountain during a mid-day vigil.

    One by one, 32 floral candles, one for each victim, were placed in the Old Main fountain.

    Students, faculty and members of the community witnessing the ceremony listened in solemn silence.

    “”I wanted to help, and if it’s just reading names, then it’s the least I could do,”” said Alecia Thomas, a pre-education sophomore.

    Tommy Bruce, president-elect of Associated Students of the University of Arizona, spoke at the vigil and encouraged students to remember what happened at Virginia Tech.

    “”It is really important that the university show its support for other universities,”” Bruce said. “”To look forward, but also to remember what happened because this affects the whole university community.””

    After Bruce’s introduction, students led prayers in memory of the victims.

    Virginia Tech graduates also spoke of their experiences at the university and their reactions to the tragedy.

    Garret Bonnema, a 2003 Virginia Tech graduate and a UA graduate research associate, was a mechanical engineering major at Virginia Tech and took classes on the floor of Norris Hall where the shootings occurred.

    “”I just grew up in that environment and it’s hard for me to believe that the same desk I used to take notes on were the same ones students used to shield themselves,”” Bonnema said.

    Greg Knehans, a 1987 Virginia Tech graduate and a UA graduate student in political science, spoke about his experiences at the university and asked for compassion in a time of tragedy.

    “”We need more compassion and a willingness to recognize the different ways of thinking that separate us from one another,”” Knehans said.

    After Bonnema and Knehans spoke, members from various student organizations took turns to read the names of victims.

    Carina Johnson, a media arts senior and a native Virginian, said she appreciated how the UA was showing support for the victims and that the vigil was a great way to show support.

    Tucson residents also came out to show support.

    Tucson residents Lauren and David Rabb were surprised to hear that the UA was holding the vigil and said their daughter, a sophomore at Virginia Tech, appreciated the support from other schools.

    “”It was really surprising, and a shock for us and them, as to how many people have done things,”” said Lauren Rabb. “”It really makes a difference.””

    Rabb said her daughter heard gun shots Monday and police told her to flee from the scene.

    Simone Reynolds, an undeclared freshman and master of ceremonies for the event, organized the vigil through the University Activities Board as a way to show UA support for victim’s families and friends.

    “”For years, it has been a part of me to plan things and seeing what was going on the news made me feel like I needed to do something,”” Reynolds said.

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