BLACKSBURG, Va. (WAVY) - The Virginia Tech campus awoke under a crescent moon Monday, as an eerie morning fog floated across the Drill Field.
There was no formal memorial when the Capitol Square bell sounded 32 times at exactly 9:43 a.m. to mark five years since the mass shootings on campus, but a crowd gathered in silence.
Freshman Bailey Bovat from Chesapeake was one of those moved by the moment. Choking back tears Bovat said, "I still remember that day. I remember how sad it was, but that was the day I wanted to be a Hokie."
It was that day, April 16, 2007, that instilled in the minds of the country what Virginia Tech was all about. "The way Tech united is still unbelievable. I knew I couldn't go anywhere else," said Bovat .
Bovat came to Tech in part because of how the campus responded in a time of unspeakable tragedy.
Granite markers now bare the names of the 32 lives lost to the throes of evil.
The years have not eased the pain.
Dreama Muller stops by the Virginia Tech memorial every time she's on campus. Her daughter, Crystal, who was a Junior in 2007, couldn't bare to come. "I don't know. She's choosing to deal with it in her own way. I deal with it by being here. I deal with it by being very grateful for the Hokie community," said Muller.
For the first time since the tragedy, classes met on April 16 this year. One class chose to come to the memorial as a group, then sat and talked about life and the tragedy. Freshman Jared Brumfield came to remember Ross Alameddine who was the roommate of Jared's brother, who could not pull himself to come back this year. "On a day like today you are a Hokie, and on this day you can feel it," said Brumfield.
Gov. Bob McDonnell will address the Virginia Tech campus during a candlelight vigil at 7:30 p.m.
The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will then stand guard for exactly 32 minutes prior to an 11:59 p.m. extinguishing of the Ceremonial Candle. The light will be carried back into Burruss Hall, representing the commitment to never forget.
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