Clarion Community Joins Together for Bell Ringing Ceremony in Support of Orlando Victims

Bell CeremonyCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Clarion University staff and community members joined together on June 17 to reflect on the tragedy in Orlando and show support for the victims by gathering for a bell ringing ceremony at the university bell tower.

The bell rang 49 times, once for each life lost in the Orlando shootings.

The shootings occurred when Omar Mateen, an American-born man who had pledged allegiance to ISIS, killed 49 people and wounded at least 53 on June 12, at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.

The tragedy has been deemed by authorities as the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11.

Bob Girvan, a retired Clarion University sociology professor, said he is glad to be part of memorial events and thinks they are valuable experiences.

“I’m impressed with the number of people here because sometimes, in my experience here, there’s very little acceptance of anybody who is the ‘other,'” Girvan said. “A lack of recognition, particularly with people like myself – straight white males, middle class, upper class – our entitlement and the advantage that we have when something like this happens with Juneteenth in mind, it’s our responsibility.”

Ron Radaker, Clarion University’s co-chair for the Presidential Commission on LGBT Concerns, headed the event and took several moments after the bell ringing to reflect on the tragedy in Orlando.

“The reason why we decided to gather today was just to take a moment to reflect on the lives lost at the tragedy that occurred this past Sunday in Orlando. But, not just taking a moment for this tragedy, but for all tragedies that our country has been going through, and how just even being here in Clarion, just taking that moment of silence or prayer and how that can transcend healing to those that definitely need it during these tragic times,” Radaker said.

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