Sorrow and support

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

Putting their religions and backgrounds aside, U students and faculty came together on Thursday to remember the victims killed in the Virginia Tech massacre four days ago.

Student leaders from the Interfaith Council at the U, as well as religious leaders from local organizations, spoke about the importance of showing support for the families of the 32 victims who were shot and killed by Cho Seung-Hui before he turned the gun on himself.

Carolyn Tanner Irish, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, urged the campus community to avoid dwelling in the tragic events and spend more time healing and focusing on the future.

“He was where he was, imprisoned by hate. He did what he did and we can’t go back to the beginning,” Tanner said about Cho, the 23-year-old student shooter. “Maybe the ‘what’ and ‘why’ will never come together, but we need to come together and let our support reach their community.”

During the brief ceremony in the West Union Ballroom, students gathered around a piano adorned with three white candles to listen to the LDS Institute of Religion concert choir.

Anwar Arafat, president of the Muslim Students Association, sang a prayer from the Quran that gives people advice on what to do during tragic times. Arafat said the association had been in touch with the Muslim student group at Virginia Tech, which lost one of its members during the bloody rampage, and asked the crowd for a moment of silence, which was interrupted only by periodic sniffles.

Amee Garcia, a member of the Interfaith Council, said students from different belief systems came to the event for many different reasons.

“Whether they are here in fear or to pay respects, we all need to pray for the healing of our fellow students and those affected,” Garcia said. “You don’t have to be of any religion to have faith and to give support.”

Outside the remembrance event, students pinned maroon and orange ribbons (Virginia Tech’s colors) to their shirts and signed a giant orange banner that will be sent to the university in Blacksburg, Va.

In black marker, students signed long messages: “If you can, find comfort in the fact that our love and sympathy goes out to all of you,” and shorter words of support: “So sorry.”

After the somber ceremony, students momentarily walked along a wall tacked with the biographies of the victims of the shooting. Students paused and stared at the faces of the students and faculty members who smiled back, some pictured at the beach, others hugging family and friends.

Meghan Robinson, a junior in history and biology, said she was shocked and horrified that a massacre that took so many lives could happen at a place that was supposed to be a learning environment.

“The students killed could have contributed so much in the future, and they had to go in such a senseless way,” she said.

Lisa Teran

The LDS Institute of Religion’s concert choir sings at a vigil held for students yesterday in remembrance of victims of the shootings at Virginia Tech on Monday.