BLACKSBURG — At midnight the warm glow of a flame appeared at the doorway of the administrative building at Virginia Tech. The light journeyed out of Burruss Hall, down stone steps, past flower beds bursting with color and a Virginia state flag flying in the nighttime sky at half-staff, and toward a crowd of a few hundred gathered around a memorial to the 27 students and five faculty members who were murdered on April 16, 2007.
Monday marks the five-year anniversary of that massacre. And as the day began, Va. Tech Corps of Cadets members lit a candle that will burn throughout the day in memory of those killed.
The simple ceremony lasted just minutes. It was nearly silent, although pieces of a conversation from another part of campus drifted over on the night breeze.
Most of the students gathered stared quietly ahead at the burning candle.The silence was broken by a call for the cadets to salute, and a bugle playing “Taps.”
A few minutes later, the crowd began to slowly disperse.
The candle is set to continue burning throughout Monday — as students attend classes, gather for a lunchtime picnic and attend an evening candlelight vigil.
The ceremonial candle will be extinguished at 11:59 p.m. and carried back into Burruss Hall, which university officials say is symbolic of their ”commitment to never forget.”
I will be tweeting updates from the 2012 Day of Remembrance at Virginia Tech on Monday. You can follow along at twitter.com/wpjenna.
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