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Editorials

Time to truly move forward

The day that no one wanted to think about, but took months of careful planning, attention to detail and a consideration for all those involved is over.

Yesterday, NIU marked the one-year anniversary of the deadly shooting at Cole Hall. On Feb. 14, 2008, a former graduate student opened fire in a geology lecture hall killing five students and injuring at least 21 more before turning the gun on himself.

Killed in the shooting were Gayle Dubowski, Catalina Garcia, Julianna Gehant, Ryanne Mace and Daniel Parmenter. The list of those injured in Cole Hall and those left emotionally scarred by the ordeal goes on and on.

NIU went above and beyond its duty in planning for this day of reflection. More than a dozen events were held including a commemoration ceremony, a concert, a memorial mosaic, a time capsule, an art exhibit, a video montage, a scholarship luncheon and a candlelight vigil.

Some would argue that it’s all a bit much. All this memorializing can be painfully overwhelming. But it’s necessary. We need to remember all that was lost on that cold February day. Not only did we lose the lives of five young people, but we lost our sense of security and innocence. Never before did we believe that such violence could happen here. We were wrong.

NIU committee members consulted with the families of the deceased and the surviving students while planning for the day of reflection. According to NIU President John Peters, they were happy to be involved in the planning process. For that we are grateful.

But now the day is over and it is time to close this dark chapter in NIU’s history. It’s time to truly move forward.

It’s time to take the sun-faded “Forward, Together Forward” signs from the windows of businesses and homes. It’s time to retire the memorial ribbon. The sentiment will always be there even if the visual reminder is not. Our community has grown immensely close in the past year. That relationship is something that will not wither.

We will never forget the horror that happened on our campus. We will never forget those five young faces or the image of white crosses standing tall on a hill of snow against a crisp blue sky. This tragedy will stay with us always.

But we must move on. We must continue living and celebrating life. We must do it for ourselves, for our children and for the NIU community. We can not let this senseless act of violence define who we are. We are resilient. We are a strong community. We are all Huskies.

It’s time to let the past rest. It’s time.

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