Students light candles to support victims of Boston attacks

Erin McGroarty/Sun Star Reporter
April 23, 2013

The UAF campus has proven time and time again to be full of compassionate and caring students.

Last Monday, April 15, two separate bombs exploded at the finish line of the 117th Annual Boston Marathon. The explosions killed three people and injured 130 more. Not only did this tragic event receive immediate attention from both national and international news organizations as well as an address from President Obama, it also received a heartfelt response closer to home from the UAF community.

UAF service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega members, Lauren Bradley and Ashley Crowe, organized a candle light vigil at very short notice, posting a Facebook event only a few hours before 9 p.m., when the event was scheduled to begin.

“I asked Lauren and others to help me organize this because I can’t imagine what those people are going through.” Crow said, “I knew I wasn’t the only one on this campus who empathized with this terror attack and I wanted to show as much support as possible and as quickly as possible to show that we, UAF, are there for Boston.”

Regardless of the last minute nature of the event, at 9 p.m. approximately 30 students gathered in Constitution Park located between the Fine Arts Building and the Gruening Building.

“Ashley and I really just wanted to show that even though we may be in Fairbanks, that people this far away still care and are effected by these types of events,” Bradley said after the event.

Bradley and Crowe and passed out candles to each person as they arrived. Once a large enough group was gathered, recently appointed APO President Mickey Zakurdaew thanked everyone for attending and APO Chapter Advisor Jesse Manchester began the event by also expressing his appreciation for the turn out and remorse for those affected.

“As a generation, we have been raised in a dark time when these tragic events sweep our nation and the only way to combat the hate that runs rampant today, is to continue to love one another as much as possible,” Manchester said. “If this event in Boston shows us one thing, it’s that we never know what life will bring us; but what matters is that we love with everything we have, as much as possible.”

As well as expressing his heartfelt regards to those affected, ASUAF Public Relations Director Fred Brown explained that students could also help those in need by donating blood to the Blood Bank of Alaska, which is running dangerously low, during UAF’s upcoming blood drive. He also shared his reflections on an inspiring news story about unwounded athletes in the race continuing to run, even after passing the finish line, to a near by hospital to donate blood to those injured in the blasts.

Following Manchester’s opening, other students in attendance had the opportunity to share their sentiments until the group came together for a moment of silence to commemorate the dead and injured. At the end of the vigil, Manchester led a prayer circle that many of the vigil attendees stayed for. 

While each student who spoke expressed their regards in their own unique words, the over arcing sentiment of the vigil was not just remorse and heart ache but positive encouragement for Boston and the country as a whole and very clear hope for the future.

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