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Candlelight Memorial Service for Virginia Tech
Remarks by:
Dr. Dale Lunsford, vice president for student affairs and external relations

April 18, 2007

Two students holding candles at candlelight vigil
Photo By Tom Turner, Tyler Morning Telegraph
Two UT Tyler students participate in candlelight vigil Wednesday night.

Again we gather at this tower. This is where UT Tyler grieves. We have been here before but this time, the tragedy seems very close to us. Those at Virginia Tech are like family to us.

We are all so different and yet we come to the University with the same purpose in mind. We come from small towns and large cities. We come with different interests and different talents. We are different ages, different races, different genders.

Yet, we all come with the same purpose. We all come to the University to lay the foundation of our futures. We have different majors and different career plans. We all define a successful life a little differently. Yet, we are all here seeking the knowledge and skills and discipline to build a successful future.

That’s one reason why these deaths at Virginia Tech are so difficult to bear. With each victim died a promising future of achievement. Students who were working so hard to build a bright future now have no future at all.

What is even more tragic is that these students lost their lives in the very place they had come to build their lives. Faculty with so much to offer now have been lost. In classrooms where the focus was on preparation for the future, the future has been violently taken away.

It is wrong and it is evil but it is our burden to bear tonight.

And that’s why we are here: to light a candle in a dark world; to say that we want to seize today because there is no guarantee of tomorrow; to honor those who came to Virginia Tech for the same reason we have come to UT Tyler.

The best way we can remember them is to continue the good work of building our futures.

(The names, majors and classifications of each victim are read.)

From the Psalms of David, we are given this promise:
Even though I walk through the valley of death,
I will fear no evil
Because you, Lord God, are with me.
I am sure that goodness and love
Will follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Today we are all Hokies


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