BLACKSBURG Va. (WFXR) — April 16, 2007. It’s a day students and staff at Virginia Tech will never forget.
As the 15th anniversary of the Virginia Tech mass shooting approaches, students, staff, the Blacksburg community, and the nation will honor the 32 lives lost in the mass shooting that took place on campus in 2007.
“We will forever honor their lives and support those families and others affected by this tragedy,” said Debbie Day, associate vice president for alumni relations at Virginia Tech. “We also take this opportunity to gather as a community deeply committed to one another. Because so many Hokies were affected by this tragedy, it is so important for us to turn to each other for strength and support.”
On Saturday, April 16, the Day of Remembrance will begin at 12:01 a.m. with a candle lighting at the April 16 Memorial. For 32 minutes, members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will stand watch over the candle, which will remain lit for 24 hours.
At 8:30 a.m., a wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the Memorial located on the Drillfield. Wreaths will be carried by the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad and will be laid by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, as well as Laura Sands and Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke.
After the wreath-laying, the Run in Remembrance will get underway. Runners will run 3.2 miles from the Drillfield near War Memorial Gym, across campus and into Lane Stadium before finishing near the April 16 Memorial. The run will start at 9:43 a.m. with a moment of silence.
The university says preregistration for the event is strongly encouraged, so visit the Department of Recreational Sports website for registration and more information.
An interfaith service in the War Memorial Chapel will be open to the public, with seating starting at 1:30 p.m. and the service starting at 2 p.m. The university says there will be no late entries, pictures, or videos allowed.
Area first responders will also be honored at the Virginia Tech/Miami baseball game, as well as at the softball game against the University of Virginia (UVA). Both games will start at 2 p.m. on the Blacksburg campus. Members of the Virginia Tech Police Department will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at both games.
Additionally, the spring football game will be held on Saturday, with kickoff taking place at 4 p.m.
Later in the day, a candlelight vigil will begin at 7:30 p.m. in front of the April 16 Memorial on the Drillfield. At the vigil, the names of the 32 individuals who died on that day will be read to honor their lives. The university asks participants to bring their own candles and dispose of them safely. They say cell phone lights may be used as well.
The Day of Remembrance will conclude at 11:59 p.m. Saturday when the ceremonial candle is extinguished. The Corps of Cadets will keep watch 32 minutes prior to the candle being extinguished. The candle will then be carried back to Burruss Hall. The university says this represents its commitment to never forget.
Virginia Tech says, in addition to the events in Blacksburg, many Virginia Tech alumni chapters will host events in their communities on Saturday.