RICHMOND, Va. (CBS/AP) Three years ago today, 32 people died in the shooting massacre at Virginia Tech. Crowds gathered Friday at the state Capitol bell tower to honor those victims and their memory.
Gov. Bob McDonnell led the ceremony in Richmond, Virginia and proclaimed the state would observe Virginia Tech Remembrance Day each April 16 during the four years of his term.
As the crowd observed a moment of a silence, McDonnell read the names of students and faculty shot and killed by student Seung Hui Cho on April 16, 2007. The ceremony ended with the bell ringing 32 times.
The Washington Post reports that 21-year-old student Molly Pearl was a freshman at the time of the shooting. She told The Post, "People in my class tried to jump out of windows." Pearl was fortunate enough to have slept in that day and missed class. "What would I have done? I would have stood there, frozen. If I had gone to class I would have been shot. I probably would have been killed."
This year's ceremony was significantly more somber due to the upcoming graduation of many of the students who were freshmen at the time of the massacre, says The Washington Post. This group of soon-to-be graduates call themselves the "4/16 generation."
Classes are cancelled today and there are events throughout the day to honor those who died, reports The Post.