Cheers, Tears at Virginia Tech-ECU Game
Posted September 1, 2007 9:00 p.m. EDT
Updated September 1, 2007 9:08 p.m. EDT
Blacksburg, Va. — More than 60,000 people packed Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon for the first football game of the season. Emotions ran high on and off the field since it was also the first game since the fatal shooting rampage.
On the morning of April 16, student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people on the Blacksburg, Va., campus.
The university paid tribute to those killed with the release of balloons prior to kick-off. Hokie fans then shouted a big thank you to visiting East Carolina University players and fans.
"It's probably the first time a visiting team has gone in there and gotten cheered," said Wayne Blount, a Virginia Tech alumni.
ECU donated $100,000 to the Hokie Hope Fund in the days after the campus shootings.
"It's good to get to this point to move forward. Athletics can be a very unifying part of the healing process," said John Swafford, Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner.
ECU's band also wore ribbons on their uniforms in remembrance of those killed.
"We are here to show pirate spirit, to support Virginia Tech and everything that's happened and give a good kick-off to college football," said an ECU band member.
Connie Richardson and Sarah McMillan have attended Virginia Tech games for 40 years.
"It's a season of healing for all of us, for all the Hokie nation," Richardson said.
The final score of the game was Virginia Tech 17, East Carolina 7.