Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 16th – “Shine Your Light”

Everyone wanting to make a gesture of remembrance come to the Mill Mountain Star at 7:45PM, Wednesday, April 16th. BRING YOUR FLASHLIGHT or other illumination and shine it into the darkness as Joe Lehman put it so well below. William Fleming Teachers and students will be present to remember Henry Lee, the 2006 William Fleming graduate who was killed that day. For some of us it is not yet behind us. CLICK HERE FOR Henry Lee’s STORY from the Roanoke Times.

Part of text from Father Joe Lehman, Easter, 2008:

“As of March 18 this year, the Tuesday before Easter, I had nothing I was stuck. But that changed that evening when I sat down with that morning’s Roanoke Times. On the front page of the Virginia section a tiny article announced what “The Star City” planned to do on April 6th in observance of the first anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech; namely, “to leave the mountain’s 88 ft. neon star turned off”.
“It’s a noble and touching gesture and one we did “before when the star was briefly extinguished after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.” It’s a noble and touching gesture but is it the right one. Why would we want to confront the darkness in life and mark a tragedy like that of April 16 with more darkness! Should we not flood the memorializing of that terrible day with light … with lots of bright, healing and comforting light! Should not “The Star City” instead of darkening its signature sign … its brand, also light tiny stars in memory of those who lost lives that day but whose shining lights could not/can never be extinguished!

I think back to what the students did on the drill field the night of the shooting and on the nights that followed. They lit candles. They were silently present to each other. Someone broke the silence with an unrehearsed “Amazing Grace” which quickly spread, as tears were shed and dried and as fears were shared. I remember, too, what our valley did at Victory Stadium the night of September 12, 2001 with the great help and blessing of the city, under the leadership of the Roanoke Valley (interfaith) Ministers Conference.

We gathered to proclaim the scriptures – Psalm 27, to be exact., “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear”. We prayed our goodbyes ….. We also lit candles … passing the light – scattering the darkness of the night and the darkness in each other’s lives … “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness”….. We confront the darkness with light. We break the silence with and by our presence.

Joe Lehman is Pastor of Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Local Events



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