Remembering Virginia Tech One Year Later

April 16th will mark one year since the worst civilian mass shooting in U.S history, the massacre by a suicidal student gunman at Virginia Tech University which left 32 students and faculty dead, and two dozen wounded.

While there will be commemorations at the campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes reports that for those closest to the tragedy and those who reacted strongly to it, the past year has been about remembering Virginia Tech every day.

"Every day almost feels like a funeral," Omar Samaha told CBS News. "We never thought we would lose Reema like that."

Samaha's younger sister, Reema, was one of the 32 people killed that awful day. She was just 18, a freshman, who loved to dance.

"She's kind of been this model this past year," he said, "for us to live our lives like she would."

Lily Habtu survived the attack, but carries a piece of it with her.

"I was shot in my jaw," she said, "and the bullet is still there, one millimeter away from my brainstem. They can't take it out."

She was shot in her wrist too and spent a month in the hospital, then graduated.

"We won't heal from this," said Habtu. "We will always think about this. We will always live with this."

Away from campus, Abby Spangler, a concert cellist and a mother of two in northern Virginia watched with horror as America's deadliest school shooting unfolded.

"I could take it no longer, and I thought the time has come to speak out," she told CBS News.

A few days after the shootings, she emailed 31 friends, asking them to dress in black and symbolically lie down with her outside Alexandria's City Hall for three minutes. That's the amount of the time they estimate it took Virginia Tech shooter Seng-Hui Cho to purchase his two semi-automatic handguns. The "lie-ins," as she called them, caught on and she founded a grassroots organization to help others organize their own.

"We can change the gun laws in our country so this kind of tragedy does not continue to happen again and again and again," Spangler said.

Topping their agenda, closing the so-called "gun show loophole." 35 states don't require private sellers at gun shows to conduct the instant background checks that federally-licensed dealers must do.

"A mentally ill person, a gang member can walk in there and get an AK-47," said Habtu. "This is what's happening."

Lilly and Omar participated in a lie-in at the Virginia capitol in Richmond, to pressure state legislators to require background checks at guns shows, something the Virginia Tech review panel had recommended. But the legislators rejected that, noting Cho got his weapons in gun shops.

"Say an individual like the Virginia Tech shooter had walked into that gun store today and tried to buy a gun, and he was denied," said Spangler. "Where would he go to buy his gun that was easy, that was untrackable, that's unregulated? Where would you go? You would go to a gun show."

This week, on the first anniversary of the massacre, there are more than 80 lie-ins planned, in Washington, D.C. and more than 30 states. Many will be led by friends and relatives of the Virginia Tech victims, like Omar Samaha.

"If you're an upright good citizen, and you want to own a gun, go for it," said Samaha. "We're just trying to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and everyone should want that."

"We shouldn't be waiting for tragedies to happen," agreed Habtu.

In a new poll this week, 60% of Americans surveyed say they favor stricter gun control measures, with 80% supporting closing the "gun show loophole." Americans also rated "reducing gun violence" as important a national policy goal as extending health care to everyone and ending the war in Iraq.