Thursday marked the 5th anniversary of the campus shootings at Northern Illinois University. Scores of people, including NIU leaders, Governor Pat Quinn, and many first responders, gathered at the campus memorial site to remember the five students who lost their lives that day.
Gayle Dubowski, Catalina Garcia, Julianna Gehant, Ryanne Mace and Daniel Parmenter died and 21 others were injured when a lone gunman opened fire inside Cole Hall on February 14th 2008.
At the start of Thursday's ceremony, bells rang out over the campus as the large crowd stood in silence to reflect upon the tragedy. Family members then laid wreaths along sections of a red granite wall that lists the names of the five students who were killed.
Governor Quinn said of the five victims "God gave them not a long chronological life, but he gave each and every one of them a purposeful life."
NIU President Jon Peters led the procession to the site for the last time. He's announced plans to leave the university this summer.
Peters said that almost none of the undergraduates currently enrolled at NIU experienced first-hand the tragedy from five years ago. But he said although they may not realize it, today's students are touched by the presence of those who were killed.