As the country mourns the tragedy in Boston, the Commonwealth came together Tuesday to honor the victims and survivors of the Virginia Tech massacre. It's been six years since a gunman shot and killed 32 people on campus before killing himself.
There was a universal theme of sadness at the Capitol's bell tower Tuesday morning during a solemn reflection mixed with prayers for peace as the nation and our state try to make sense of these senseless tragedies.
The sound of each bell - a symbol of lives lost six years ago.
"It brought tears to my eyes. I was thinking at that time there was mayhem, chaos and massacre at Virginia Tech. Our children and professors were being killed at those very times the bells were being rung," said Joseph Samaha of the Virginia Tech Family Foundations.
Families of victims and survivors joined supporters at the bell tower, vowing to never forget something everyone wishes would've never happened.
"He came into the room and started shooting," Allison Cook remembers.
She was a student at the time.
"My teacher looked out the door and as we were hearing gunshots, we didn't know what they were at the time, she immediately closed the door and told us to get down," Cook recounts.
She was shot several times.
"They left two of the bullets in but other than that I've been fine ever since," she said.
It's a day by day recovery not made any easier when episodes like Monday's Boston explosion continue to play out.
"What's going on? Why does this keep happening?" Cook asked.
A question still on the minds of those who united Tuesday reflecting on multiple tragedies and searching for hope in the midst of chaos.
"All we can do is remember to make sure that we never forget the events that occurred there that day but more importantly that we remember those that lost their lives," Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said.
Gov. McDonnell couldn't attend the ceremony. He's in China for an economics trip but sent word that he also paused to reflect.
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