The Highlander

Vigil held on football field marking anniversary of Parkland shooting

In ceremony during Highlander Time, lives lost during Parkland shooting are commemorated

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Vigil held on football field marking anniversary of Parkland shooting

17 chairs are set on the middle of the football field to honor the lives of those lost during the Parkland shooting

17 chairs are set on the middle of the football field to honor the lives of those lost during the Parkland shooting

Anna Brykczynski

17 chairs are set on the middle of the football field to honor the lives of those lost during the Parkland shooting

Anna Brykczynski

Anna Brykczynski

17 chairs are set on the middle of the football field to honor the lives of those lost during the Parkland shooting

Nolan Fitzsimmons, Reporter

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A vigil was held on the field in honor of the seventeen people who lost their lives during the shooting in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 17 chairs were set up with flowers were set up on the McLean High School logo in the middle of the football field. During Highlander Time, seventeen students stood in front of them holding the flowers, and as the names of the victims were read aloud on a loudspeaker, the students holding the flowers walked outside of the circle surrounding the logo one-by-one. During the ceremony, students standing around the circle surrounding the logo observed the ceremony in silence. Also, in the beginning and the end of the ceremony, a person on the loudspeaker spoke of the importance of students caring for one another and maintaining a strong sense of community. 

“I thought it was really important that we do this memorial because I feel like last year there was a lot of momentum and there was a lot of motivation to remember the victims and make change,” said senior Elena Perez, who was one of the 17 students standing in the center of the circle. 

Perez sees honoring the lives of the victims of the shooting as a good way to bring attention to an issue that has received much less attention since the shooting occurred. 

“Over the past year [momentum to remember the victims and make change] really slowed down, and so I think it’s important to really honor their lives and not forget the horrible things that happened to them, and that there has not been change in our country,” Perez said.

Perez felt very strong emotions while standing in the circle to honor the lives of those who did not survive the Parkland shooting. 

“It was really powerful for me to stand in the circle because it just means a lot to me because that could be any one of us, and this tragedy could happen at any school, and for those of us who have lost loved ones in shootings like this, its just really tragic,” Perez said while fighting back tears. 

Others who attended the vigil also strongly supported its goal of honoring the Parkland shooting victims.

“I thought that it was honorable of them to show us that these things are real and actions can be taken in the government to prevent such tragedies,” senior Omar Al-Gailani said. 

Another student was also supportive of the memorial’s bringing together of the community and of the attention that it brought to the flaws that still exist in society. 

“Not only was the memorial a sign of respect and support for those who lost their loved ones at Parkland, but it was also a sign of what we can do as a young community. It signaled our intent to create a better tomorrow,” senior Ayushman Ghosh said. 

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