Valentine's Day holds a much different meaning at Northern Illin - – Rockford’s News Leader

Valentine's Day holds a much different meaning at Northern Illinois University

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Governor Pat Quinn Governor Pat Quinn

Valentine's Day 2008 at Northern Illinois University. A day meant for love was filled with fear, gunshots and lives lost in a Cole Hall classroom. The pain felt by current students who, for the most part, weren't even at NIU during the shooting, is no less than five years ago.

"I think it's important to, as a community and as a Huskie, to remember what happened here and it's just good to be a part of it." -says NIU Junior Ryan Chodora.

Joining the hundreds of NIU students, faculty and community members, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

"All of us mourn the loss of five special young people who were killed five years ago this very day." -Governor Quinn says.

Alongside him, university President John Peters. He spoke of a new generation of NIU students. They and countless others missed out on meeting these five victims.

"They never saw how Julianna Gehant brightened a room, just by entering. They never got to benefit from the insights Ryanne Mace shared with classmates." -says Peters.

Current students had mixed feelings about attending to NIU after the shooting took place.

"Honestly, I was kind of scared to even come here. I had my doubts coming here because of all of the shootings that have happened here but I mean, you have to move forward." -says NIU freshman Tiffany Pabico.

NIU Senior Brandon Grosz adds, "Even though I knew what happened, I still wanted to come here just because of the atmosphere." -he says.

The five victims live on. Dan Parmenter and Ryanne Mace, through helping other students, in the form of memorial scholarships. The victims' families and loved ones were also in attendance Thursday. During a moment of silence, they got to add a flower or wreath to the memorial markers.

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