A remembrance ceremony on the grounds of Capitol Square marked the 6th anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings.
State officials joined family members of students who were killed and a survivor of the shootings to honor the 32 victims who lost their lives that day.
Joe Samaha’s daughter, Reema, was one of the victims. He’s now president of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, which the victims’ families created to advocate for safer campuses and help care for others impacted by similar tragedies. That outreach now includes the Newtown school families. Samaha said tougher security and armed guards are short-term fixes.
“What we really need to discuss and build on, as we have been doing at VTV, is the work on the ‘heartware’—solutions to school safety and security, better mental health awareness and care, threat assessment, helping at-risk kids, and actively caring for each other," said Samaha.
A moment of silence was led by Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling.
“As we observe this moment of silence today on behalf of the victims of Virginia Tech, I would also ask that we remember the victims of other senseless acts of violence like this as well—certainly those in Newtown, but also those yesterday who lost their lives and were injured in another senseless act of violence in Boston.”
The bells then tolled for each of the Virginia Tech victims.