Va. Tech Hero Remembered In Israel

Mourners and media surround the body of Liviu Librescu, a 76-year-old Holocaust survivor who was killed by the Virginia Tech shooter while trying to hold a door shut so some of his engineering students could escape. CBS

Family and friends of a Virginia Tech professor gathered at a cemetery in Ra'nana, Israel on Friday to remember Liviu Librescu as a survivor, and bury him as a hero.

At 76-years-old, the engineering professor blocked the door to his classroom on Monday morning to allow students to escape out the window. Some of the last ones to make the jump looked back to see Librescu killed by bullets from the gun of Cho Seung-Hui.

Librescu, who lived in Israel for a while but was of Romanian descent, was a holocaust survivor.

At the funeral service Friday, his body lay wrapped in a traditional white Jewish funeral shroud, surrounded on one side by family, and on the other by media photographers.

Through tears, Librescu's widow Marlena said she has received many emails from Virginia Tech students saying their lives were saved by her husband, reports CBS News correspondent Robert Berger.

"I will never know what passed through your mind in the last moments, but I hope you take care of your family from where you are now," she said at the service.

Librescu's son, who stood at his mother's shoulder, came to the microphone and said, "I walked today with my head up, proud having such father. I'm just proud of you, father."

Joe Librescu told CBS News the day after the shooting, "I really felt a sense of pride, even thought I wasn't surprised at how he acted at this moment... His was definitely a fulfilled life."

April 16 - the day of the shooting - was already a solemn day on the calendar in Israel, where it was marked as Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Librescu's son says the family's grief is offset by accounts of how his father saved his students' lives.

Click here for an interactive gallery of the victims.

Private funeral ceremonies were held Thursday for two international students killed in the massacre. Egyptian Waleed Mohammed Shaalan and Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan, a civil engineering doctoral student from Indonesia, also will have funerals in their home countries.

As experts pored over Cho's twisted writings and his videotaped rant, parents and officials urged people to instead focus on the victims of the deadliest rampage by a lone gunman in modern U.S. history.

Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine declared Friday a day of mourning and called for a moment of silence at noon to honor the 32 victims in Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech. Churches around the country, from California to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., have scheduled vigils and special prayer services.

"We want the world to know and celebrate our children's lives, and we believe that's the central element that brings hope in the midst of great tragedy," said Peter Read, whose 19-year-old daughter, Mary Karen, was killed. "These kids were the best that their generation has to offer."
  • Daniel Schorn

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