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Virginia Tech Campus, Nation Observe Day of Mourning

April 20, 2007 at 12:00 AM EDT
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TOM BEARDEN, NewsHour Correspondent: Church bells rang at noon today in Washington’s National Cathedral. It was a scene repeated in dozens of cities and towns across America on this national day of mourning for the victims of Monday’s deadly shooting at Virginia Tech.

The remembrances extended to today’s Atlantic Coast Conference track and field championships at the University of Maryland. Many athletes, coaches, and fans from the 12 participating schools, including Virginia Tech, wore ribbons with the Hokies’ school colors of orange and maroon as a sign of support.

Still, Maryland’s Toni Aluko, who placed first in the women’s high jump, wished she could do more.

TONI ALUKO, Student, University of Maryland: I saw the athletes and, honestly, it was really hard. I didn’t know what to say. You don’t know how each athlete is affected and how they’re handling it. But I laid in bed last night, and I was just saying, you know, I should have just gone up to them and said, “You know, ladies, we really are thinking about you, and our condolence is with you, and you guys are in our hearts and in our prayers.”

Student-athletes remember victims

TOM BEARDEN: It wasn't clear whether Virginia Tech's student-athletes would even participate in the meet. Their classes were cancelled following the shootings, as were all school activities. But school officials gave the track team permission to make the five-hour trip to Maryland, a decision Coach Dave Cianelli endorsed.

DAVE CIANELLI, Coach, Virginia Tech: The mood was just so much, you know, more buoyant once we got here to College Park, and we had our team together, and we had our first team meal. And we could just -- you know, it was sort of like, you know, business as usual, I mean, a lot of laughter. And the sooner that we can get back to sort of our normal routines, I believe that that's the first step to the healing process.

TOM BEARDEN: Many members of the Virginia Tech team showed their own signs of support for their classmates and teachers who were killed. Some displayed the number 32, to remember each life taken by the shooter. Others included the shooter among the victims and displayed the number 33.

DAVE CIANELLI: We didn't meet about that. We didn't have some sort of vote or anything. I just left that up to each individual athlete to express themselves, you know, how they wanted to.

TOM BEARDEN: And precisely at noon today, all activities on the field stopped so that the teams and spectators could join in the moment of silence to remember Virginia Tech's dead.

The victims

Twenty-year-old Ross Alameddine was a sophomore English major from Saugus, Massachusetts. Friends who created a memorial page on the Internet said, "His kindness knew few limits, and we are less without him."

Jamie Bishop taught German. The Fulbright scholar was remembered by his high school teacher in Pine Mountain, Georgia.

GAIL SHEPPARD: Jamie was alive. A lot of people put off living until tomorrow. They have too many problems to solve today. And Jamie lived every day to the fullest.

TOM BEARDEN: Brian Bluhm was on the brink of graduating with a masters' in civil engineering. The only thing he loved more than the Detroit Tigers, according to one friend, was his work in the Baptist collegiate ministries.

Ryan Clark was a resident adviser on the fourth floor of the dorm where the gunman started his rampage. A member of the Virginia Tech Marching Virginians band, he had a 4.0 grade-point average.

NADIA CLARK: I've lost a brother, you know, and I had two. Now I just have one. And I lost a friend. I lost part of my heart, you know, so it's...

TOM BEARDEN: Eighteen-year-old Austin Cloyd was a freshman majoring in international studies. The pastor of her church described her as a "very delightful, intelligent, warm young lady."

Proud Canadian and French language instructor Jocelyne Couture-Nowak leaves behind two daughters.

Kevin Granata was one of the top bio-mechanics researchers in the country, working on movement dynamics in cerebral palsy. Granata's brother, Paul.

PAUL GRANATA: Kevin was a strong believer in helping people. And from what we've been told, that's how he ended up being in a position to get shot, is he left an office to help people.

TOM BEARDEN: Graduate student Matthew Gwaltney "had things really going good for him," according to his grandfather, and was set to graduate in May with a masters in environmental engineering.

Sophomore Caitlin Hammaren's dorm resident adviser said she "was dedicated to helping her friends and the community."

Jeremy Herbstritt of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, was a graduate student in engineering.

Rachael Hill, a freshman studying biology, was an only child. She was competitive on the volleyball court and had a penchant for shoes.

Emily Hilscher was the gunman's first victim. A horse lover from Woodville, Virginia, she wanted to be a veterinarian.

DAVID MILLER, Friend: Imagine the girl that's, you know, friends with everyone. She'll laugh at you; she'll laugh with you; she was just an amazing person.

TOM BEARDEN: Senior Jarrett Lane was majoring in civil engineering. He was a valedictorian of his Narrows High School class in Virginia.

An aspiring Air Force intelligence officer, Matthew La Porte was from Dumont, New Jersey. He attended high school at Carson Long Military Institute.

LT. COL. RODNEY GROVE, Carson Long Military Institute: As far as we're concerned, we lost a family member. But I feel even worse because the world has lost someone who could have really made a difference.

TOM BEARDEN: Freshman Henry Lee was the ninth of 10 siblings whose family fled Vietnam to come to the United States. He was a computer engineering major.

Engineering Professor Liviu Librescu was buried in Israel today. The 76-year-old Holocaust survivor barred the classroom door so his students could escape out the windows.

JOSH WARGO, Student: I just say, thank you for everything. He's been a great help to me, and I'm going to miss him.

TOM BEARDEN: Indian-born G.V. Loganathan was a lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Colleagues said he was chosen four times by students as the faculty member of the year.

WILLIAM KNOOKE, Professor, Virginia Tech: A tremendous human being. I never heard G.V. say an evil word about anyone.

TOM BEARDEN: Partahi Lombantoruan of Sumatra in Indonesia was a civil engineering doctoral student. His family said they sold off their cars and land to pay for his studies.

Lauren McCain came from Hampton, Virginia, and was a devout Christian and a good friend.

JOHN DOTY, Friend: She always had a smile on her face; that's one thing I'll definitely tell you. She always saw an opportunity to make sure you were doing OK.

TOM BEARDEN: Twenty-two-year-old graduate student Daniel O'Neil loved playing guitar and posted his songs on his Web site.

DANIEL O'NEIL (singing): ... I'll always love you, he whispers, and you'll always be mine...

TOM BEARDEN: Juan Ramon Ortiz was from Puerto Rico. He was teaching a class as part of his graduate program in civil engineering when he was shot.

Minal Panchal was a first-year building science student from Mumbai, India. She wanted to be an architect like her late father.

Daniel Alejandro Perez hailed from Peru and was studying international relations.

Eighteen-year-old Erin Peterson was remembered as a leader by her high school basketball coach in Chantilly, Virginia.

Michael Pohle, Jr., 23, from Flemington, Virginia, was pursuing a degree in biological sciences.

Julia Pryde, a masters degree candidate in biological systems engineering, was an "exceptional student," according to the department chairman.

Mary Karen Read of Annandale, Virginia, was a freshman. Her friends remembered her fondly.

TIMOTHY JOHNSON, Friend: She was always smiling, always laughing. We'd make fun of her just because she would smile so much.

TOM BEARDEN: Freshman Reema Samaha loved dancing and performed in the school's contemporary dance ensemble. Her sister, Randa.

RANDA SAMAHA, Sister: We drove down here, you know, praying for the best, but just preparing ourselves for the worst, and that's what we got. We got the worst.

TOM BEARDEN: Egyptian-born Waleed Mohammed Shaalan was married and the father of a 1-year-old son and a doctoral student in civil engineering.

Twenty-year-old Leslie Sherman was studying history and international studies. She always offered an encouraging word, according to high school classmates.

Senior Maxine Turner majored in chemical engineering and helped found the chapter of her sorority, Alpha Omega Epsilon.

ALYSSA TETKOSKI: Max would put smile on anybody's face. She was always a joy to be around.

TOM BEARDEN: Nicole White was a junior majoring in international studies and German. She was from Carrollton, Virginia.