Virginia Tech Marks 5th Anniversary of Massacre - NBC4 Washington

Virginia Tech Marks 5th Anniversary of Massacre

First year since the shootings that the school is holding classes April 16



    News4's Julie Carey has a look at how Virginia Tech is marking the 5th anniversary of the mass shootings that killed 32 people on the Blacksburg, Va., campus. (Published Monday, April 16, 2012)

    Each anniversary since the April 2007 massacre on the Virginia Tech campus, classes have been suspended for the day in memory of the 32 students and faculty killed in the rampage by a lone gunman who then killed himself.

    On Monday, the fifth anniversary of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the 28,000 students on campus headed to class to honor the 32.

    Provost Mark McNamee, who chaired a committee that planned memorial events in the years after the shooting, says the return to classes reflects the lives of those slain.

    The day was remembered in other ways on the Blacksburg campus, in Washington and by alumni across the country.

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    A bell on Virginia's Capitol Square in Richmond sounded 32 times at 9:43 a.m. to mark the fifth anniversary.

    There was no formal memorial Monday at the Capitol Bell Tower in Richmond as the bell tolled at the moment five years ago when a gunman began the deadliest chapter of his rampage.

    A young woman wearing a "Hokies United" T-shirt stood underneath a tree on the Capitol grounds. She told a photographer she had been a student on the Tech campus when the killings occurred on April 16, 2007. She left the bell ringing in tears.

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    Gov. Bob McDonnell was scheduled to address a candlelight vigil on the Tech campus Monday night.

    The vigil was scheduled for 7:30 p.m.  on the Frillfield, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Members of the Virginia Tech Corps are keeping a candle lit for 24 hours, which started a few minutes after midnight. A "Thank You" baseball barbecue was planned to honor first responders.