Candlelight Vigil Honors Va. Tech

April 19, 2007

Reported by: Britney Glaser

The tragedy at Virginia Tech this week has the nation looking for answers.  Some folks are finding answers by showing support for the families of the victims.

Tonight, dozens of people came out to the campus of McNeese State University to pay their respects to those lives forever changed by the events at Virginia Tech.

Ashley Berken with the Student Government Association at McNeese says, "It would be beneficial any time a person that wants to come out and show their respect and their remembrance for the people that were affected."

Even though this campus is hundreds of miles from Blacksburg, Virginia, the residents from the community coming out say that there's still an emotional connection - even miles apart.  Father Alan Trouille with the Catholic Student Center at McNeese says, "Though we're on the campus here at McNeese State University (a lot of distances between our campuses) we truly do share a lot in common, one of which is the fact that when one hurts, we all hurt."

With that commonality, a community-wide candlelight service was held as a show of support, one light at a time.  Jan Bicanic is a McNeese student from Croatia who has been deeply touched by this week's tragedy.  "I have two friends at Virginia Tech and it's a big tragedy over there, and they're very good friends of mine.  Now, I really realize that this can happen to every one of us."

While this has hit especially close to home for college students, parents also say it has been a tough week.  Veronica Harris of Lake Charles says, "If anything, if we can support the parents and the community of Virginia Tech, I think we just need to be here and I felt just very compelled to be here."

Although this candlelight service only lasted thirty minutes, lives will be forever impacted.

Across the state tomorrow, Governor Kathleen Blanco has declared it as a "Day of Mourning" for the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Blanco is asking churches to toll their bells at 11:00 a.m. and has asked residents to observe a moment of silence at that time as well.