Candlelight filled the area stretching from the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library to the Diag flagpole and from Angell Hall to West Hall last night as an estimated 15,000 members of the University community came together to promote peace and unity at an impromptu vigil honoring the victims of yesterday’s attack.

Shabina Khatri
Students console each other at the prayer vigil held on the diag after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“It was the best behaved 15,000 I’ve ever seen,” Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said. “By far this was the largest turnout (the University has) ever had.”

Together, students expressed their mixed feelings of shock, anger and grief.

“I’m still a little bit shocked. I’m pretty upset. I think it’s unbelievable that something would happen like this and that it happened to this country,” said Engineering freshman Paul Gibson, a Washington resident who attended the vigil. “It’s going to take a long time for people to heal. Until now, people thought of this as a safe haven where nothing could happen, and that’s changed.”

For Gibson, the attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center was personal.

“My dad works at the Pentagon,” he said. “I just went back to my room and tried to contact him. I just sat by my phone and waited.” Gibson said his attempts were eventually successful.

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