Hokies United Holds Candlelight Vigil for NIU

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Hokies United Holds Candlelight Vigil for NIU

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By Emily Canis
Staff Writer
February 18, 2008

Hokies United sponsored a candlelight vigil Monday night for the Virginia Tech community so that students and residents of Blacksburg could pay their respects to the fallen Northern Illinois University Huskies.

The twenty minute service began with Hokies United member Scott Cheatham thanking everyone for coming out to show their support for the Huskies. Cheatham introduced President Charles Steger who gave a brief speech. Followed by Steger was Student Government Association President Adeel Khan. Khan spoke of uniting with the Huskies and the unfortunate fact that Virginia Tech and NIU now share a common bond. "We will all prevail," Khan said in his closing remarks.

After a moment of silence for the fallen Huskies, Steger suggested a singing of "Amazing Grace," in which the entire crowd sang. Following "Amazing Grace," the crowd started the well known chant, "Lets Go Hokies!" with Hokies being replaced with Huskies. "Our support for the Huskies is unlike that of any other school because we understand personally what it feels like. The vigil not only represented the fallen Huskies but also our own friends we lost last spring," said sophomore chemistry major Julianne Webber.

Folded boards were placed around College Avenue, resembling those that were on the drill field last spring; although this time they were for the NIU Huskies. Students signed the boards with messages of support and grief for the Huskies. One message read, "You are in our thoughts and prayers, stay strong Huskies."

Last Thursday, Feb. 14, Northern Illinois University was shook by the same shock and grief Virginia Tech experienced less than a year ago. Twenty seven year-old graduate student, Steven Kazmierczak, stormed a geology classroom, holding a shotgun and two handguns. 162 students were registered in the class; five were killed while injuring 18 more.

Instantly, the Virginia Tech community responded with an outpouring of support through multiple mediums. President Steger sent out a campus wide email alerting students of his contact with the NIU president as well as counseling contact information for anyone that felt the need for it. Organizations across campus showed their support for the NIU Huskies. Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity on campus, made cards for their fellow chapter at the NIU campus. Pi Kappa Alpha, who lost one of its brothers at NIU, is sending the NIU chapter a flag with all the Virginia Tech brother's signatures.

The Hokies continued support of the NIU Huskies has been recognized nationally because of the bond both schools now share. The Hokies United candlelight vigil was just one way the Virginia Tech community expressed their support for NIU.

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Photo by Brian Sewell.

Original Source: Planet Blacksburg
<a href="http://www.planetblacksburg.com/2008/02/hokies_united_holds_candlelight_vigil_for_niu.php">http://www.planetblacksburg.com/2008/02/hokies_united_holds_candlelight_vigil_for_niu.php</a>

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Emily Canis (Author)/Brian Sewell (Photo)

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2008-02-22

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Kacey Beddoes

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Emily Canis (ecanis@vt.edu)

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eng

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Emily Canis (Author)/Brian Sewell (Photo), "Hokies United Holds Candlelight Vigil for NIU," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1749, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1749 (accessed October 31, 2014).