Va. Tech honors victims on 5th anniversary of campus massacre

A visitor to the April 16 memorial lays flowers in remembrance on the Virginia Tech campus, Monday, April 16 2012, in Blacksburg, Va. AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Daniel Lin

Last Updated 11:08 a.m. ET

(CBS/AP) BLACKSBURG, Va. - Ceremonies on the campus of Virginia Tech will honor those who were killed and wounded in the shooting spree that claimed 33 lives five years ago today.

A moment of silence was held statewide at 9:43 a.m., the time the shootings began on April 16, 2007, when Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded 25 others before killing himself. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Last week Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a proclamation officially recognizing April 16 as Virginia Tech Remembrance Day. He is scheduled to address a campus-wide candlelight vigil on the Drillfield, the heart of the campus.

The governor's proclamation honors the 32 lives that were "hastily taken, leaving absences that will never be filled and a profound sense of sorrow in the lives of those impacted," the proclamation reads in part.

There are also art exhibits and talks scheduled on the university campus. Other groups are holding affiliated events, including a blood drive, while Hokie alumni groups are participating around the country, including Habitat for Humanity building projects in Wilmington, Del., and Mason, Ohio; a Memorial Run/Walk in Raleigh, N.C., and a tree-planting in Portland, Ore.

In Richmond, a bell on Virginia's Capitol Square sounded 32 times at 9:43 a.m. to mark the fifth anniversary of the mass shootings at Virginia Tech.

A young woman wearing a "Hokies United" T-shirt stood underneath a tree on the Capitol grounds. She told a photographer she had been a student on the Tech campus when the killings occurred on April 16, 2007. She left the bell ringing in tears.

Va. Tech Day of Remembrance: List of events
List of Virginia Tech victims

It is the first year since the shooting that Virginia Tech will hold classes on April 16.

Provost Mark McNamee, who chaired a committee that planned memorial events in the years after the shooting, said the return to classes reflects the lives of those slain.

"Their passion for education, their desire to do good in the world, their commitment to their disciplines come through so strongly that we felt being in classes was one special way of remembering them onward," McNamee said. "This is what they did, this is what we do, and it's important to us.

"My sense is that our students and our faculty are ready for it," he said.

At 9:43 a.m. Monday -- the time when gunman Seung-Hui Cho began killing 30 students and professors at Norris Hall -- McDonnell was calling for a moment of silence in Virginia. The Capitol Square Bell Tower in Richmond will then toll for each victim.

On campus, events will also include a community picnic on the Drillfield, a display of memorial items sent to Virginia Tech from other colleges and universities and performances. Several locations have been set aside on campus as "quiet places for reflection."

At Norris Hall, where Cho also killed himself, an open house was scheduled. The former classroom building is now home to the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention.

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.