Bush mourns death of 32 people in campus violence

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Washington, Apr 18: US President George W Bush joined Virginia's governor and dozens of other state and campus leaders to bring comfort to the students, faculty and staff of Virginia Tech a day after a 23-year-old student shot 32 people to death before killing himself.''Laura and I have come to Blacksburg today with hearts full of sorrow,'' the president said yesterday. ''This is a day of sadness for our entire nation.'' The President and Governor Timothy Kaine, who flew back overnight from a trade mission in Asia, decided to join a convocation for a university and town reeling after the worst massacre in American history. So many people showed up for the session in the school's basketball arena that thousands of students were sent to Lane Field, the university's 50,000-seat football stadium.

In a six-minute touching address, Bush said, ''Those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.'' ''I hope you know that people all over this country are thinking about you and asking God to provide comfort for all who have been affected,'' he added.

Kaine said the world had been inspired by the response of the campus and the surrounding community. ''It's not just you that needs to maintain that spirit, but the world needs you to,'' he said. ''The world saw you and saw you respond in a way that builds community. The world needs that example before it.'' Zenobia Hikes, the university's vice president for student affairs, captured that spirit when she said, ''We will eventually recover, but we will never, ever forget.'' Thirty three people were declared dead after the bloodbath Monday, including the gunman, whom police identified as Cho Seung-Hui, of Centreville, Va, a senior in the English Department.

Cho was a resident alien who immigrated to the United States from South Korea in 1992.


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