May 11, 2007
The morning dew glistened on flowers left at the victims' memorial, a fresh reminder of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. More than any other, Friday's graduation day is bittersweet.
Richard Roopan is one of 5,000 students who will don cap and gown. He's trying to keep his spirits up and focus on the future.
"We've all had three or four weeks now to mourn, and for us graduating students, hopefully it's going to be more of a celebration," said Roopan.
It's a celebration of lives to be lived and others lost too soon. On April 16th, a student opened fire. When he was done, 32 faculty and students were slain.
The students will certainly not be forgotten; they will be a part of all the graduation ceremonies, their names read aloud as they are awarded posthumous degrees.
"I think the first thing that comes to mind are the families of the victims and wanting to do everything we possibly can for them," said Dr. Edward Spencer, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs.
Grief counselors will be on hand and so will extra security. Some of the victims' families have decided to come and be a part of the ceremony. 30,000 are expected to fill the stadium.
"I hope that everyone who are seniors remember and pursue great things in life knowing that life is just too short," said Jessica Anh, the sister of a graduate.
While no one could forget the tragic events that unfolded here four weeks ago, the hope is that the joy of this day will not be overshadowed.