By Daniel Wallace
Some students and faculty at Baylor University said they felt the pain of the tragedy in West – both when it happened and on Thursday when a memorial for its victims was held on their campus.
ABPnews was on hand for the ceremony to get a sense of how the explosion and the memorial impacted them.
Katherine Alford, a freshman in elementary education from Waco was moved by the sea of firefighters and EMTs from all over. “It was great to see the support.”
She applauded President Obama’s pledge not to let West be forgotten with the passage of time. “I think this ceremony is a great example of people coming together to help their neighbors’ times of crisis,” said Alford, who worships at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church.
Calley Powell, freshman in apparel design and product development, from Waco, was touched by the president’s reference to specific people and places in West. “I thought that was cool,” said Powell, who attends Austin Avenue United Methodist Church in Waco. “It wasn’t just a broad speech. He cared about them.”
The explosion in West and the memorial held for first responders at Waco has actually inspired her. “One that really stood out to me was the spirit of carrying forward the vigilance and service these firefighters had.”
Andy Hogue, political science lecturer and director of the civic education and community service program at Baylor, found the service moving because it brought each of the victims to life.
“There was a … manner in which all of these were real, selfless people,” said Hogue, a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Waco.
Hogue praised the politicians who spoke for avoiding any hint of partisanship during their remarks. “It reflected the fact we can all agree on this – these men were heroes. Obama, especially, I felt like he just preached a sermon.”