CBNNews.com - More than a thousand people wearing orange and maroon flowed onto the main lawn at Virginia Tech on Wednesday to remember the victims of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
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They gathered on the same field where a white candle lit at midnight began a day of mourning for the 32 people killed a year ago by student gunman Seung-Hui Cho, who shot himself as police closed in.
"We remain deeply and profoundly saddened by the events of that tragic day," Virginia Tech President Charles Steger told the crowd. "Indeed, all our lives were changed on that day."
While this close-knit campus of 27,000 has worked hard to move on, the anniversary of the killings has left many struggling to cope.
"The world was cheated - cheated out of the accomplishments that were sure to come from these extraordinary lives," Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said.
A moment of silence was observed for the victims followed by a tolling of bells. Kaine ordered state flags flown at half-staff. A candlelight vigil was set for the evening.
Some family members of victims entered War Memorial Chapel early Wednesday for a private service.
Other family members of those killed said they couldn't bear to attend the official events and planned to grieve privately.
No public memorials were planned for Cho.
Gerald Massengill, who led a governor-appointed panel that investigated the slayings, has tried to focus his thoughts on the changes that have been made to the state's mental health system and school security procedures in light of the panel's recommendations.
"I think a lot of us have been anticipating April the 16th with some reservations as to how it would impact us," he said. "And I think as it's gotten closer, what I have tried to consume myself with are those things. the lessons that we think we could learn from Virginia Tech."
Source: The Associated Press.