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USCL honors Boston bombing victims

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By Reece Murphy

University of South Carolina Lancaster students and faculty honored victims of last week’s Boston Marathon bombing with a memorial ceremony culminating in personal commitments from participants to do their part to stop violence.

The ceremony, Monday, April 22, came a week after homemade bombs placed near the marathon’s finish line injured 282 and killed three, Martin Richard, 8, Lu Lingzi, 23 and Krystle Campbell, 29.

MIT police officer Sean Collier, 26, also died, shot to death by the bombing suspects April 16.

The ceremony of hope brought students and faculty together in the wake of a national tragedy.

SGA President Ty Reeves said the silent walk and pledge signing drew approximately 80 participants for a ceremony that turned out to be unexpectedly powerful in its simplicity.

“I didn’t know we were going to be able to get a lot of people to be silent while waking like that, but they were,” Reeves said, “Then, coming in and writing the ‘I Will’ statements it was very quiet and calm. Just unexplainable, really.”

Reeves said the pledges students signed said, “To prevent violence in society, I will ...” followed by the action the students promised to make to try and accomplish their goal.

The pledges were then posted on the school’s “I Will” wall in Starr Hall, which will be maintained for a week to raise awareness.

Among his favorites, he said was a pledge to “accept others as they are instead of how I think they should be.”

The point is an important one, Reeves said, especially when it comes to trying to prevent the sort of cultural alienation that appears to have played at least a part in suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s alleged motivations for carrying out the bombings.

“I think that educating ourselves about other cultures is very important, especially in a small town where a lot of people don’t have a chance to venture out of town and learn about other cultures,” Reeves said.

“Here at the university, we try to create a positive atmosphere where our students will come together as one,” he said. “And events like this, create an opportunity to bring people together despite their differences.”

SGA Vice President Brandon Newton said while the Tsarnaev brothers motivations may have been complex, it’s important to remember that “big problems often come from small causes.”

And preventing those big problems starts right here at home in the way we treat those around us.

“This is a way we can prevent violence here and also honor those who were injured and killed in Boston,” Newton said. “One victim is too many; and because we are all Americans and united, we need to stand by those who we lost and those who were injured.”

 

Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151