BLACKSBURG, Va. - 15 years after a student fatally shot 32 people at Virginia Tech, the campus and community are gathering Saturday to honor the lives that were lost that day.
The deadly shooting that took the lives of 32 students and faculty members happened on April 16, 2007. The victims ranged in age from 18 to 76 and represented a variety of academic areas and faith and ethnic groups. At the time, the shooting was the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. It forced schools across the country to rethink campus security and reignited the debate over gun control.
To honor the victims of the shooting, the school will hold several events throughout the day Saturday.
The events will begin at Midnight on Saturday as the student body will light a candle to honor the victims. The ceremonial candle will stay lit for 24 hours.
Around 8:30 a.m., officials will hold a wreath laying ceremony at the April 16 Memorial located on the school's campus.
That will be followed by a 3.2-mile Run in Remembrance, that will begin shortly before 10 a.m.
The school will also hold an Interfaith Service to honor and remember the victims. The service will be held at the War Memorial Chapel, and is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Officials say those who want to attend can gather at the Chapel starting at 1:30 p.m. Late entry will not be permitted.
A candlelight vigil is also planned for the 32 students and faculty. It will be held on the Drillfield at the April 16 Memorial, and is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
The day of remembrance will wrap up with the ceremonial candle at the April 16 Memorial being extinguished at 11:59 p.m. Saturday.
Virginia state officials are also taking part in honor the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Governor Glenn Youngkin ordered that the state's flags be flown at half-staff at all state and local buildings Saturday. The flags were lowered at sunrise and will remain at half-staff until sunset.