Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community gathered at Snowville Elementary Friday to honor the victims of the April 16, 2007 tragedy at Virginia Tech.
“We have been doing this the last three years,” Snowville principal Janis Carter said of the special ceremony. “I think this is important since we are part of the Virginia Tech community and a lot of our parents went there. I think it is important that the children remember what can come out of a tragedy. We want to remember it. We don’t want to forget those people. I think it is important that children have assemblies and ceremonies like this.”
Everyone in attendance gathered around the flagpole, which bore a Virginia Tech flag instead of the American flag. After the gathering, State Police First Sergeant Mike Honaker spoke to the students about the tragedy’s first-responders.
“We don’t go into detail with the children what the scene was like, but I think it is important that children understand why we have memorial services,” Honaker said. “It is not to continue to relive an incident over and over in an unhealthy way, but the purpose is to remember that these people lost there lives and that there were people there to help.”
Following Honaker’s speech, Carter read the famous poem, “We Are Virginia Tech” by poet and author Nikki Giovanni. The poem was followed by a moment of silence, then the students returned to their classes.
“This is a wonderful ceremony to commemorate the victims of that fateful day,” said Interim Pulaski County Schools Superintendent Thomas Brewster, who attended the event. “We would like to commend Snowville Elementary, Janis Carter, the students, and the faculty and staff for taking the opportunity to remind students of the civility and importance of eulogizing and remembering such important people. They also took the time to remember law enforcement officers, fire officials, and rescue workers who are on the scene when something tragic like that happens.”