BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- What began at midnight continued later Tuesday morning, when cadets laid two wreaths ahead of a moment of silence at 9:43 a.m.
That silence lasted for nearly all of the 32 minutes the cadets stood guard next to the ceremonial candle. Each minute stood for each life lost 12 years ago.
It was a somber morning that was only part of the university's way of remembering.
"You see, in a very visible way, on Saturday at the 3.2-mile Run in Remembrance, where close to 12,000 people came out and today, people come to be together," said Virginia Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski. "Together to remember."
In the campus library, exhibits honor the lives that were lost and display books that represent the victims' interests and academic disciplines.
The cadets returned to the memorial one more time Tuesday night to stand guard in a commitment of remembrance before returning the candle to Burruss Hall.
"We won't extinguish it," Owczarski said. "We bring it back into Burruss as our symbol that, again, we will not forget these lives and we will hold them dearly for as long as there's a Virginia Tech."
Though 12 years have passed, the day remains difficult for many. It's a sign that the pain from those lives that were lost will never truly go away.
"This is a tragedy that will forever be a part of Virginia Tech but it's so important that, as a community, we own that together and that we move forward together," Owczarski said.