BYU VT VigilThe Deseret News has a touching article on a BYU candlelight vigil held Friday night to honor the victims of the VT massacre:

PROVO — Patches of orange and maroon clothing, reflecting Virginia Tech’s school colors, could be seen as the BYU community held a candlelight vigil Friday night to honor victims of this week’s massacre at the Virginia school.

Students, faculty and families gather at BYU for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting.

Several hundred students, faculty and family members joined in prayer and song to remember the 32 victims slain by a gunman Monday at the university in the quiet hills of Virginia.

The vigil was officially approved by the BYU administration, which even supplied the candles that the students used:

Marisa Kelley, a BYU junior studying sound voice recording technology, graduated from Hylton High School in Woodbridge, Va., several hours from Virginia Tech. She said nearly a fourth of her graduating class went to Virginia Tech.

“I was devastated when I heard what had happened,” Kelley said. “I found out a friend of mine was killed and I felt like we weren’t paying enough attention to this.” She initially organized her thoughts on the Web’s facebook site, and the response was that something needed to be done.

Kelley took her idea and met with associate dean of Student Life Jonathan Kau on Wednesday.
“He was really helpful and said that BYU would even supply the candles for the vigil,” Kelley said.

After the gathering was approved, the dean’s office got the word out by sending a mass e-mail to all BYU students with the details of the gathering. Memorials and vigils, often accompanied by the tolling of church bells, have been held on campuses across the nation the past few days, bringing students and community members together to honor the victims of the Virginia Tech attack. A ceremony was held Thursday at the University of Utah. Other schools, including Weber State University, observed moments of silence and sent messages of condolence.

Besides the vigil at BYU Friday, banners were up all day for students to write messages to the victims and survivors of the massacre. Beau Dunn took charge of the banners because of a personal experience he had several years ago that helped his family.

This vigil was similar to others held on university campuses nationwide, including the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City. This tragedy has had many ugly faces, including the reprehensible media coverage; however, it has also brought people and communities together the country over to express their solidarity with the VT faculty, students and staff:

As nearly 500 candles were handed out and lit, a young woman’s clear voice rang out as she sang the old Christian hymn “Amazing Grace.” Those gathered then sang a verse of “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.”

Well done Cougars!