A standing room only crowd, more than 1,200 students, faculty and staff, gathered in Weaver Chapel at 11:20 a.m. to share their grief and shock, and to look for some meaning in the disasterous attack.
"This is a time we must come together as a university and I see standing room only and that tells me we have and will," senior and student senate president Kevin Hooker told the assemblage. "The day started out so beautiful, sunny, now we are faced with these horrible events. It's just...beyond words."
A number of faculty also volunteered to offer some thoughts to the community on that sad morning. "Not many college campuses across the nation can and will respond so quickly, this service and gathering is a testament to our community," said Gerry Hudson, professor of political science.
"Probably one of the most powerful messages this gives us is that we don't have control," offered Jeff Ankrom, professor of economics and director of Common Learning at Wittenberg. "I urge you to draw on whatever religious tradition you may have, and if you believe in guardian angels, I'd say this is a time to call upon them."
Dr. Paul Nelson, professor of religion said "I can't begin to suggest the impact this may have. (We should) resist the temptations to draw conclusions right away. As a university this will empower us to be drawing on all our expertise and compassion," he continued. "Try to make some sense of this - it won't be easy."
At 9 p.m. about 300 students gathered for a second time in Weaver Chapel for a special memorial prayer service. During the service four candles were lit -- for the victims and their families, for those who waited to hear word or are trapped, for the rescue workers, and one for our nation and its leaders.