Friday, March 14, 2008

Stardate 62200.47 - A Planned “Day of Remembrance”

A Planned “Day of Remembrance” to Honor the Victims of Last April 16th

(((I am re-publishing this newsletter I received from VA Tech.)))

On the anniversary of April 16, there are plans to honor the victims of that tragic date. Throughout the entire Hokie Nation, wherever you may reside, we hope you will take a moment or longer to reflect on “the 32 inquiring minds and inspiring lives that will be forever treasured.” Those words are from the inscription on the dedication plaque placed at the permanent April 16 Memorial on campus.

The anniversary day will be observed on campus in a variety of ways -- engaging students, faculty, staff, alumni and other visitors to honor the victims and celebrate the special bond and Hokie spirit that has enabled healing over these past months. There will be no classes held that day in order that those on campus can participate in various observances and activities. However, all university offices and services will be open.

There has been considerable thought and planning concerning on-campus activities for the anniversary observance – A Day of Remembrance – on April 16, 2008. A committee, appointed by President Steger and chaired by Provost Mark McNamee, solicited input from students, faculty and staff on campus, plus members of the local community and those family members directly affected by the tragedy.

Several major decisions emerged by consensus from the committee’s deliberations… April 16, 2008 will focus on the lives of the 32 innocent students and faculty members who were killed on April 16, 2007; events will be simple and respectful; opportunities will be provided for anyone who wishes to honor the memories of the victims.

In the spirit of these guidelines, the following events will represent the official university commemoration, “A Day of Remembrance” on April 16.

  • 10:30 a.m. to noon - University Commemoration Event, Drillfield (rain or shine): The names of each innocent victim and a few words about the special qualities of each will be read aloud. President Steger will welcome those assembled.

  • Sundown (approximately 7:45 p.m.) - Candlelight Vigil, Drillfield (rain or shine): The students of Virginia Tech will sponsor and organize a candlelight vigil beginning at sundown. The initial lighting of candles will begin by using a ceremonial candle at the April 16 Memorial that will burn through the entire day.

In addition, between noon and 5:00 p.m., the university will provide venues across campus where individuals or groups may wish to express or witness remembrances in the form of poetry or other readings; writing; musical or artistic performances; art creation; flower planting; or other activities, including service activities. The goal is to balance opportunities for individual, informal expression with some structured activities.

Many of our alumni chapters are coordinating service activities as part of the “VT-ENGAGE” initiative launched last fall to accumulate 600,000 service hours performed by the Hokie Nation. For example, some chapter areas are promoting a VirginiaTechforlife Blood Drive that alumni may choose to participate in, whether in organized group settings arranged by chapters or individually through local Red Cross or other donation centers. A link to blood donation sites may be found through our Association homepage,

As it becomes available, all information will be posted on the April 16, 2008: A Day of Remembrance website ( This website is linked to the university homepage and will continue to add in opportunities, such as those kinds of activities described in the previous two paragraphs, as they are planned.

Additional Activities…

Our students are also sponsoring a university and community picnic on Sunday, April 20, 2008 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. This picnic will recognize and support everyone who contributed in so many important ways to the April 16 emergency response, and the immediate and ongoing recovery and support efforts. Introductions will occur at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Megan Armbruster from the Office of Recovery and Support will serve as the operational director for the April 16 anniversary events. She has begun her work with many university offices on logistics and support issues, and is assembling a task force for the events. All questions and suggestions should be sent to her e-mail -

Those who wish may view the 10:30 a.m. University Commemoration Event on April 16. Details regarding its broadcast may be found at the website as the anniversary date approaches.

In closing, I wish to express appreciation for the thousands of expressions of sympathy and support that have poured into our campus from alumni and friends over the months that followed last April. We have been moved and inspired by the bonds within a worldwide community of Virginia Tech alumni, plus many millions more, who shared the shock and pain of the tragedy. The very recent deaths on the Northern Illinois campus were a poignant reminder of how senseless violence can strike again and paralyze a community that binds many hearts, and branches out in so many directions. It is because we connect to our larger families of alumni that we are better able to endure, to honor the victims whose lives we treasure, and to move forward with conviction.

No comments: