National day of mourning for Virginia Tech victims

April 20, 2007 
NBC, AP reports        

Blacksburg, VA --   At noon, a hush fell over the campus of Virginia Tech as bells rang out in memory of the 32 victims of Monday's massacre.  At a memorial in front of Norris Hall, where most of the victims died, hundreds of mourners, many clad in the school's maroon and orange, stood with their heads bowed.      

Along with the bouquets and candles a yellow sign covered in maroon and orange hand prints, read "Never forgotten." One mourner says "With this evil, there is still goodness."      

The mourners gathered in front of 33 simple stone memorials, one for each victim and one for the gunman who took their lives. One mourner said, "His family is suffering just as much as the other families."   

Old red, white and blue has changed to orange and maroon as Americans, no matter their alma mater or their age, wear the Virginia Tech colors. President Bush is wearing an orange and maroon tie today -- the school colors of Virginia Tech.  It's his show of support, on a day that's filled with memorial events for the victims of Monday's shootings.      

Virginia's governor declared today a statewide day of mourning.   The White House says Bush has asked top officials at the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Education to put together a report on how to prevent similar tragedies. They're being told to travel the country, and talk to educators, mental health experts and others.   

Virginia Tech shooting victim Colin Goddard is setting the standard for recovery.  Shot three times, but surviving Monday's attack, Goddard told the Today Show he's making laughter the best medicine.    "I'm ready to laugh.  I'm more than mentally prepared to move on with this.  It's just my physical limitations at this point are what's bringing me down."   

Several of Goddard's classmates are more than happy to help with humor during hospital visits.    Some of the students who remain hospitalized were serenaded Thursday by Virginia Tech's marching band to the implied beat of "Let the Healing Begin."   

Memorials across Virginia Tech's campus are being added to with mourning and moments of silence across the country.  Students will return to classes Monday, however, they've been given the option by the university to finish this semester off campus if they wish.