UNH community members joined together on Wednesday afternoon in the Murkland courtyard for a vigil to honor victims of recent terrorist attacks around the world. More than 100 people attended, lighting candles in memory of those lost.
In his opening remarks, UNH President Mark Huddleston said our connection to France as Americans, as UNH community members and as individuals is deep.
“Ignorance of all forms still surrounds us,” he said. “But our society demands better from us. We should recommit ourselves to the values that make us human.”
UNH director of community standards Stephen Nelson said he was there because, “When these tragedies happen, we have to come together. It’s how we cope. We survive by coming together.”
Student Kassandra Kelly '17 echoed the need for unity.
“Losing human life is painful for everyone. This pain is something that can unite. We, as Americans . . . support them just as they did us during 9/11.”
In the center of the courtyard lay a bouquet of roses with a candle illuminating a poster with the names of victims of the Paris attacks of Nov. 13. Claire-Lise Malarte-Feldman, a French professor who was in Paris only a few days before the attacks, said, “Those victims are the brothers and sisters of victims in Baghdad, Beirut, Chad, Nigeria. Lights will not stop to shine; fear will not prevail; Parisians will be Parisians; France will keep cool; and reason will overcome.”
In his remarks, student body president Cameron Cook '17 stressed that humanity should not accept such events as the norm. “Violence has never been, nor will it ever be, the solution to any problem. We must have more conversations to make our community one that fosters unity and respect.”
Michael Verney, vice president of the graduate student senate at UNH, challenged those assembled to “think deeply about what you can do in your own lives to make this a more peaceful and tolerant world.”
In closing remarks, university chaplain Larry Brickner-Wood reminded those gathered that terrorism’s sole purpose is to ignite fear and hatred.
“We will stand together and say we believe in a world that can be directed by love,” he said. “Love and compassion that is fearless and courageous. Love that stands in the shadows and looks for the dawn. That dawn will come.”