Private reflection valuable on Feb. 14


Loved ones of the five victims of the Feb. 14, 2008, shootings put roses on the Cole Hall memorial during the wreath-laying ceremony in 2013.

By Northern Star Editorial Board

This is Part 4 in a five-part series. Read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

You will hear five bell tolls at 3:06 p.m. Friday.

It may seem out of place and it may catch your attention. Take the time to pause as the bells toll. It’s a moment in NIU history, and it’s one that warrants reflection.

Six years ago Friday, five students lost their lives in an on-campus shooting. That day — when Steven Kazmierczak entered a class in Cole Hall and opened fire, killing five people and injuring 21 before killing himself — has been followed each year with a memorial event in the area surrounding Cole Hall. NIU has decided that beginning this year there will no longer be an event, but rather bell tolls and a campus-wide moment of reflection. The Editorial Board thinks this is another step in the grieving process.

In past years, the event included speeches from former NIU President John Peters and the governor. Memorial wreathes were presented and attendees paid tribute with a moment of silence.

“Most, if not all the students that were enrolled in 2008 have moved on, as have many of the employees and first responders,” said Paul Palian, director for NIU media and public relations.

New students and faculty may not need to grieve in the same way as the victims’ families, locals and longtime members of the NIU community; however, it’s still a moment all Huskies should remember and recognize. It unites us.

A moment of silence and five bell tolls fits this need perfectly. Take the moment to actually reflect. Even if you did not know the victims of Feb. 14, 2008, you can reflect on ways we can make sure something like the shooting doesn’t happen again.

The Editorial Board also hopes the change provides the victims’ families a private way to grieve whenever the Feb. 14, 2008 anniversary approaches.

The area near Cole Hall, with its statue and five memorial stones, will be open for reflection, as always. But, having the option to reflect in our own may be what some of us need.

Take a moment Friday to remember our fallen fellow Huskies: Gayle Dubowski, Catalina Garcia, Julianna Gehant, Ryanne Mace and Daniel Parmenter. Reflect in the way that best suits you.

This is Part 4 in a five-part series. Read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5