24.2.08

WE ALL LOST A PIECE OF OUR YOUTH.


Associated Press photo linked from Northern Star

The memorial service has ended and we return to classes Monday.

It happened here.
Communiversity means something more today, and it must continue. The community must continue to reach out to the university, and the university must embrace all the community has to offer. The price paid for this coming together was much too steep, but an ongoing partnership, an enduring friendship between community and university, is the least we can do to honor our neighbors who have become victims.
It happened here.
Dennis Barsema, a member of the NIU Foundation Board, flew in from Mexico to attend the memorial service and, earlier, two students' funerals. Barsema, certainly, is no ordinary alumnus; his philanthropy placed his name on the school's new Business building. But he undoubtedly spoke for many when he said: "Somebody came into our family and killed five of our children. It was important for my wife and I to be here to honor not only the students who were slain, but all the students who were wounded as well. And to show our support to the university - just to be a part of the Huskie family."
It happened here.
On Tuesday, a pair of enormous boxes arrived in the Office of Public Affairs, filled with 120 spools of red and black ribbon. The sender: Berwick Offray, the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of decorative ribbons and bows.

The package included neither a letter of explanation – though none was needed, of course – nor a bill.
Ribbons, crosses, cookies, concerts, no doubt other acts of kindness that haven't come to my attention.

And people in a much more dangerous place could be with us in spirit.
Camp Victory in Baghdad plans to broadcast the campus memorial service in DeKalb.

"One of our alumni said he'd be happy to organize something in Baghdad for people wanting to show support," said Joseph Matty, executive director of the NIU Alumni Association. "We have a good number of our alumni overseas, and they wanted to still be a part of what's going on."

Alumni nationwide have undertaken similar efforts to bring the NIU family together.

Groups will gather today in Chicago, central Illinois, Arizona, California, Georgia, Texas and Virginia to view the memorial service held at the NIU Convocation Center.
The article reports Virginia Tech and George Mason friends cooperating on a viewing in Arlington, Virginia. The university has made video available, although the photo gallery is not available as I post and turn in. Spare a few moments' thought for the Media Services people who, despite having to deal with the shock and the sadness, have been making it possible for the working press to cover the story.

Hail to thee our Alma Mater,
Ever shall we praise your name.
Here we proudly lift our voices,
Thousands strong we sing your fame.
Free, steadfast, devoted, true.
We will always stand by you.
Let our tears fall one by one and heal NIU.




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