Candlelight Vigil Brought Strangers Together

By Barbara Gray

Editor?s Note: This was a letter written by a U student to her mother on Friday, Sept. 14.

Dear Mom-

I had an amazing experience last night. The U was holding a candlelight vigil at the Park building and, although initially, I wasn?t going to go, I knew I would regret it if I didn?t.

A great part about it was that there were four religious groups represented. There was even a rabbi who did a chant he had written in Hebrew. It was the most amazing thing I have ever heard. Even though I didn?t know the words he used, I knew exactly what he was saying.

I started crying. You know I don?t cry often.

At the very end of the ceremony, the ASUU president started the vigil, using one candle to light someone else?s and so on. The most wonderful part, though, was after the ceremony. People gathered around the flagpole and placed their candles up against it, the wax melting into each other as the candles burnt down.

People got up and spoke, and they didn?t even need any introductions, we were all friends, even if we didn?t know each other?s names.

I started thinking of you and Dad?what would it be like to never see you again.

To come home and not know if you were alive or dead, I couldn?t handle that. You?ve always been there for me. I wish you could have been there last night to see everyone come together.

Later on into the night, people gradually began to leave, but Heidi and I stayed. I saw a young man walking by, and he too was drawn in by the light of the flames.

I watched as he looked at all the candles and then glanced up to the American flag, flying half-mast. I watched as he gazed into the candles, then bowed his head and did the sign of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost across his chest. And he walked off.

I didn?t know him. But I could feel him.

The night went on until Heidi and I were the only two people left at midnight. We almost felt protective of those flames, which were so symbolic.

We relit the candles that had gone out with that same flame that had started it all hours before. I didn?t want to leave, I felt that by staying there, somehow I could protect those candles, and the flames would never die.

Then I realized it was exactly like Sarah had said. The wax was all melting together, just like the people of America. We are stronger than this. We will live through it.

I love you. I love everything about you. Thanks for being my mom.

Barbara Gray