Virginia Tech remembers 32 on 11th anniversary of tragedy

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) The Virginia Tech community was remembering the 32 victims who were killed in the mass tragedy 11 years ago Monday.

One of the biggest moments of the weekend happened early in the morning.

Just before 9:43 a.m., University President Tim Sands, his wife Dr. Laura Sands, and Provost Cyril Clarke came out to present the wreathes on the memorial and hold a moment of silence at each victim's memorial.

The Virginia Flag was at half-mast as the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad led the wreath carrying group to honor the victims of the 2007 attack.

Virginia Tech Spokesperson Mark Owczarski said, “It's important to take that time and to stop and to reflect on those 32 people that we lost 11 years ago.”

He went onto say, “Virginia Tech will always remember these lives and we will always make sure that we do that and we take this time on this Day of Remembrance. Today, honestly with the cold breeze and the very cold temperatures, reminds us of that day 11 years ago. It takes you back for a moment.”

A small crowd of family, friends, and other members of the Virginia Tech family gathered around the memorial in silence for the presentation.

Owczarski said of the crowd, “Students today, even though they may have been in elementary or middle school at that time, still it's a part of this community.”

Among the visitors was Pete Macedo, who barely moved from a kneeling position in front of one of the memorials. He’s a former Virginia Tech employee and current Blacksburg resident and was friends with three of the victims, but can only bring himself to visit campus on this day every year.

He explained, “I knew a lot of people that knew them and they can't all be here today and they aren't around here. So if I can be here, sort of, representing them, that's what I want to do.”

While he knelt or sat in silence, he was joined in support by President Sands and his wife and the Hokie Bird, who stayed with Macedo nearly the whole time he was here.

He said of the support, “To have people that don't know me support me, I think was representative of what happened as a result of what happened here.”

After this event Monday was the display of artifacts like letters and cards the university received after the tragedy. Those would be on display in the library for a few days after the 16th.

Then the candle lit at midnight will be extinguished at 11:59 and carried back into Burruss Hall.

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