WINCHESTER — Kelly Wright’s voice broke as she read the names of nine people who were killed four years ago at Umpqua Community College.
UCC Director of Music Jason Heald rang a bell after reading each name — Lawrence Levine, Treven Anspach, Sarena Moore, Lucas Eibel, Rebecka Carnes, Jason Johnson, Lucero Alcaraz, Quinn Cooper and Kim Dietz — during Monday’s Day of Remembrance at the campus.
Wright, a victims’ rights advocate, addressed the crowd of family members, friends, survivors and first responders who came to the memorial.
“There’s nothing I can say or do to diminish the pain felt by every one of us today. It’s felt by everyone in this community, deeply impacted by this tragedy,” she said. “I can’t bring them back. I can’t erase the memories. I can’t hug the darkness away. There’s not a day that goes by where you are not remembered or thought of.
“Survivors from that fateful day four years ago carry the weight that was left behind. The physical wounds healing more and more each day, while the internal ones remain very open. In these challenging times we have to find the light, the warmth in presence of those we lost that day.”
UCC President Debra Thatcher also addressed the crowd and encouraged attendees to honor the victims by being more tenacious in their daily lives.
“We can remember those we lost and honor those who suffered on that fateful day by making concerted efforts to demonstrate our love. To find joy in living,” Thatcher said.
A harpist played prior to the opening remarks.
“The symbolism of the harp is especially appropriate today,” Thatcher said.
She added that the ancient Greeks thought the harp had healing properties and soothing qualities, the Celtics saw the harp as a connection between heaven and earth, and the Christian faith uses the instrument as a symbol of devotion, love and joy.
The flag on campus was at half-staff with nine colorful wreaths displayed at its base near the administration building. Candles and the names of those who were killed were displayed in front of the wreaths.
“Many people here are bound together by a hurt that’s deep and profound,” Thatcher said. “The loss of family and friends who four years ago were here on a journey to fulfill hopes and dreams. Dreams that went unrealized.”