Alumni return to VA Tech to remember shooting 10 years ago

BLACKSBURG, Virginia (KTRK) -- A teary-eyed Sen. Tim Kaine reflected on the day that 32 people lost their lives at Virginia Tech 10 years ago Sunday.

"I'll be able to forever say that April 16, 2007, was the worst day of my life," Kaine said in front of hundreds from a podium on the Drillfield.

Sunday marked a decade since a gunman opened fire in a residence hall and classrooms on the Virginia Tech campus killing 32 people and injuring dozens, reported WTVR-TV.

"Classrooms with bullet-riddled bodies, many with ringing cell phones in their pockets as frantic family members try to reach them," Kaine said.

It was warm and sunny for the University Commemoration Sunday afternoon, compared to the snowy and blustery spring day when the tragic shooting happened. Kaine was then Governor on a trade mission in Japan when he got word of an active shooter in Blacksburg.

"We are all unified in the feelings that we have today. I support the family members of those who lost their loved ones who still grieve as if it happened yesterday," Kaine said.

University President Tim Sands said while he wasn't part of the Hokie community during the tragedy, he watched Blacksburg's resilience from afar.

"We will always stand together as a community, and we will always remember," Sands said.

Biographies approved by the 32 victims' families were read aloud. They sat in the middle of the Drillfield and leaned on each other for support.

"Beautiful, poised, friend and leader," is how Glen Allen native Rachael Hill was described.

Chesterfield native Matthew Gwaltney was remembered as an "outstanding graduate student and skilled civil environmental engineering teacher."

The event was concluded by a poem titled "We Remember Them" read by Class of 2017 President Pat Finn and Board of Visitors Graduate Representative Tara Reel.

"So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are part of us. We remember them," Finn said.

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