Virginia Tech Vigil

June 1, 2007
Shared grief: Brought together by tragedy, the Duke community sought solace in prayer and unity

Shared grief: Brought together by tragedy, the Duke community sought solace in prayer and unity. Jon Gardiner

On April 17, the day after the shootings that killed thirty-three at Virginia Tech, Duke students, administrators, and faculty members held a vigil to show support for the Virginia Tech community. The vigil was held at 2 p.m., to coincide with a memorial service being held in Blacksburg, Virginia. The chapel bell tolled thirty-three times, once for each person who died.

Sam Wells, dean of the chapel, reflected on "two of the most powerful human emotions: terror and love." He spoke to a crowd of more than 100 about the Virginia Tech community—students, alumni, parents, faculty members, administrators—coming together in the wake of the tragedy, and said, "For a moment we see the world as God sees it: full of wonder, beauty, fragile glory, and passionate devotion, and yet at the same time cruelly mutilated by violence, horror, and terror."

The Chronicle reported that Duke students also started a Facebook group called "We Love You, Virginia Tech (Dukies in Support of Techies on a terrible day)," and that many students replaced their Facebook profile pictures with an icon depicting a maroon "VT" on top of a black ribbon.