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Thiel and Greenville Mourn For Parkland, Florida

By Bobby Winner

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, the chapel staff of Thiel College held a candlelight vigil for those 18 victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The vigil took place in the Howard Miller Student Center rotunda just outside of the bistro and was open to the public, in what was meant to be display of solidarity between the people of both the Greenville and Thiel communities.  The main theme of the vigil was to tell the world that the Thiel community specifically, and the country in general, would not forget what happened that fateful day and are doing what can be done to prevent these shootings from happening again in the future.

The vigil took place on the HMSC terrace and was centered around a fire pit that was placed there, with candles and pictures of the victims placed around it.  A different member of the Thiel, or Greenville, community then took turns reading a short biography of each victim followed by the words, “we will remember.”  One of these readings was done by a pastor from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, in Greenville.

After each reading, a picture of the victim and a candle were set aside, followed by a moment of silence for each.  This was done for each of the 18 victims, and these readings were followed by a closing statement by Susan Traverso, president of Thiel College.  These remarks were then followed by a closing prayer by campus pastor Jayne Thompson, reminding the world that “we will remember.”

“We are all still feeling the effects of these horrendous actions, and we certainly extend our full sympathies to the victims and their families,” said senior and member of chapel staff Josh Kenst.  “We are all upset, sad, and angry that things like this continue to happen and I am not sure if I, or anyone else for that matter, know the solution to solving this issue in our country.  Tragedies like this affect everyone, whether people want to admit it or not.  In this day and age, things like this can happen at any time, it seems, creating a terrifying world for the youth of our nation to grow up in.”

“We will be graduating soon, so it is up to us soon-to-be graduates and recent graduates alike to create change and a better world for all to live in,” Kenst continues.  “I think that tragedies like this are a failure of our society and our government and that there’s a lot that could be done to solve the problems that are at the root of these shootings.  But ultimately, we all have to agree on an acceptable solution to these issues and work together to do what we can to stop these shootings from happening.”

The photos and biographies of the victims will be on display for all to pay their respects, either in the chapel or outside of Pastor Jayne’s office in the HMSC.  The chapel staff suggests that everybody pays their respects as a sign of solidarity or oneness.

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