Virginia Tech will mark its observance of the Day of Remembrance with a series of events and tributes beginning April 14.
The annual Day of Remembrance honors the lives of the 32 students and faculty tragically taken from their families, friends, and the Virginia Tech community on April 16, 2007. This year’s observance will span three days and will include events in Blacksburg and communities across the nation hosted by Virginia Tech Alumni Association chapters.
A variety of events will be held to provide different opportunities for individuals to come together to remember and reflect. Information on all remembrance events will be posted to the 2017 Day of Remembrance website.
“Virginia Tech will never forget the 32 wonderful members of our community who were taken from us 10 years ago,” said Matthew M. Winston Jr., senior associate vice president for alumni relations. “We will forever honor their lives as well as support those families and others in our community affected by this tragedy.
“We also take this opportunity to gather as a community deeply committed to one another,” added Winston. “So many Hokies were affected by this tragedy, and it is so important for us to turn to each other for support, strength, and unity.”
On April 14, the Moss Arts Center will host Performance in Remembrance at 7 p.m. The program will feature student performers, including the Virginia Tech Wind Ensemble and Choirs and the Contemporary Dance Ensemble.
The Moss Arts Center will also host a related installation for reflection and remembrance in the Miles C. Horton Jr. and Sherwood Payne Quillen ‘71 reception galleries beginning April 12. Both events are free and open to the public. No tickets are required.
Also on Friday, the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, located on the second floor of Norris Hall, will hold an open house from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The center is an academic and research organization that seeks to build on the cultural initiatives that evolved within the Virginia Tech community following the April 16, 2007, tragedy. Its mission envisions a world informed by cross-disciplinary work in violence prevention research, education, and hands-on learning experiences.
On April 15, Virginia Tech will host the eighth annual 3.2-Mile Run in Remembrance starting at 10 a.m. Registration for this event is required and can be done online by visiting the Recreational Sports website beginning Feb. 1.
Following the run, a community picnic will be held starting at 11 a.m. on the Drillfield. The Virginia Tech and broader communities are invited to attend. Food from local vendors will be available on a first-come, first-served basis; attendees are encouraged to bring additional food and picnic blankets.
On Saturday afternoon, First Responder Appreciation Day will be held at 1 p.m. at English Field at Union Park as the Hokies baseball team takes on the University of Virginia. Admission is free.
Also on Saturday, other athletics events include the softball team taking on University of Louisville in a doubleheader at noon at Tech Softball Park and women’s tennis playing North Carolina State University at 3 p.m. in the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center. Admission to all of these events is free.
Events on Sunday, April 16, will begin at midnight with the ceremonial candle lighting at the April 16 Memorial located in front of Burruss Hall.
A candle will be lit by members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and representatives of the student body and the names of the 32 will be read aloud.
Members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will stand guard at the memorial for 32 minutes. The candle will remain lit throughout the day and will be extinguished at 11:59 p.m., after which the flame will be returned to Burruss Hall to represent Virginia Tech’s commitment to never forget.
Later Sunday morning, a brief ceremony will be held at 9:43 a.m. when a moment of silence will be observed and a wreath will be laid at the April 16 Memorial located in front of Burruss Hall on the Drillfield.
At 2:30 p.m., a university-wide commemoration ceremony will be held on the Drillfield near the April 16 Memorial. The program will recognize the 32 students and faculty who lost their lives 10 years ago. Biographies of each of the 32 individuals will be read aloud, and additional remarks will be made by university leaders and invited guests. Musical selections performed by student groups will be a part of this event.
That evening, a candle light vigil will be held on the Drillfield beginning at 7:30 p.m. The vigil will begin with remarks from current and former student leaders representing several campus organizations. Candles will be provided to those who attend.
In addition to these events, several “Expressions of Remembrance” will be held in the weeks preceding April 16. A complete list of these events may be found on the 2017 Day of Remembrance website.
Planning for the 2017 Day of Remembrance began 18 months ago and was coordinated by the Office of Alumni Relations with input from students, faculty, staff, alumni, area residents, and members of families affected by the 2007 tragedy.
Free public parking for all events held April 14-16 is available in the Perry Street lots and parking garage, located off Prices Fork Road. Parking and vehicular access will be restricted on the Drillfield at various times during the three-day observance. The Drillfield will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning Friday evening to accommodate the 3.2-Mile Run in Remembrance.
As information on operational impacts is confirmed, it will be posted to the Virginia Tech News and 2017 Day of Remembrance websites.
— Courtesy of Mark Owczarski