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Votes

Remembering Virginia Tech's Reema and Erin

"Even though we're only beginning to feel the pain we know will come, [Reema's] light will always shine among us ... How ironic that we came home from terror only to find violence in our own backyard."

<ro1> — Dr. Lisa Samaha, Reema's cousin

<ro>“Reema’s last name means forgiveness. And on behalf of our family, we express our sincere condolences ... also to the Cho family ... They, too, have lost a son."

<ro1> — Joseph Samaha, Reema's father

<ro>"She projected hope that one day the world would be at peace together. Her energy, passion, humor and love of live unfolded every day in her dance. And in her undying memory, I, too, shall dance through life."

<ro1> — Adrienne Fadoul, Reema's cousin

<ro>"It is never easy as a priest who also happens to be a friend of the family [to lay their child to rest]; I performed the wedding of Reema’s parents.”

<ro1> — Father Joseph Francavilla, Holy Transfiguration Melkite Greek Catholic Church

<ro>Reema is our flower picked too soon, our star to wish upon and our angel to guide us."

<ro1> — Mona Samaha, Reema's mother

<ro>"Words can never do her justice. In her life and death, she's touched all of us [and] accomplished her goals: To bring people together, spread love and make the world a better place for all."

<ro1> — Omar Samaha, Reema's brother

<ro>"She called her father every day because she said he needed it. My husband is mourning her very deeply; he lost his best friend."

<ro1> — Celeste Peterson, Erin's mother

<ro>"Celeste called and said, 'Mama, we can't find the baby.' I begged the Lord, 'Please, just let her be alive.'"

<ro1> — Bettie Robinson, Erin's maternal grandmother

<ro>"[It was as if] somebody took a knife and just stabbed me in my heart. And I asked, 'Could it be a mistake?' because they'd made so many."

<ro1> — Mary Canady, Erin's aunt

<ro>"Cry if you want, but you're going to be crying through the praise of God. We're going to worship Him for [Erin's] life, her legacy and what she's done to impact other people ... She's risen above it all, and she has brought us together here today because she touched all our lives."

<ro1> — The Rev. Eugene Johnson, Mount Olive Baptist Church

<ro>"Four of the saddest words are 'what might have been.' Erin was a talented student and gifted athlete and she represented her community so well. God blessed us with Erin for too short a time, but how blessed that time was."

<ro1> — Michael R. Frey, Sully District Supervisor

<ro>"When Erin Peterson was born, her family rejoiced that such a beautiful person came into their lives. She was raised in love, and every moment of her life had meaning."

<ro1> — Kristen Umstattd, Mayor of Leesburg