BLACKSBURG, Va. – As the nation works to reflect on recent mass shootings, people gathered across Blacksburg Friday to remember the 32 lives lost during the Virginia Tech shooting 14 years ago on April 16, 2007.
32 Hokie Stones sit in front of Burruss Hall, honoring the lives taken too soon in the largest school shooting in United States history.
Virginia Tech Associate Athletic Director Mike Goforth was in Blacksburg that day.
“When it was all going down you really couldn’t put it on a perspective. You know, I had family members around. I had a niece who was in school here in town and of course, my family was in town and it was a lot of scary moments,” Goforth said.
Traditionally, the university would host several events to honor the lives lost that day.
But because of COVID-19 restrictions, only smaller crowds could gather at the memorial.
For some students, it was their first time spending the Day of Remembrance on campus.
“I didn’t get to see it here last year since we were sent home and I was only a freshman, so I thought, You know what, I’ll just come here, take a moment to see experiences since I obviously wasn’t a student here when it happened,” student Julia Blitz said.
Others say the day is a way to process what happened that day.
“Days like this it is really awesome to see everyone come together and really acknowledge things that, you know, happen to our campus but nevertheless, like, we stick together,” Krinsky said.
Although Virginia Tech’s campus changed forever on that dark day, some say the tragic day brings the community closer together.
“The Day of Remembrance is a way for us to again come together and to remember those 32 lives lost and provide support and help each other,” said Virginia Tech Spokesperson Mark Owczarski.
The university hopes that when it’s safe, it can start hosting its traditional remembrance day events in years to come.