The Boston University community gathered in Marsh Chapel Sanctuary Monday night in memoriam of Lu Lingzi, the BU student killed one year ago Tuesday in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
More than 80 people attended the vigil held in Lu’s honor, including her parents, who flew in from China. The service was student-initiated and coordinated by the BU Chinese Students and Scholars Association, I Embrace You and Marsh Chapel international students.
“We gather here tonight with special intent to remember our communal loss, but also our communal hope,” said Marsh Chapel Reverend Brittany Longsdorf during the service.
The vigil featured speeches from the various hosting groups and friends of Lu as well as a slideshow and song, all of which stressed the importance of remembering her life and the lives of the others lost or injured in the marathon. Each speech was first given in English and then in Chinese.
“It’s heartbreaking and astonishing one whole year has passed, but we will always remember her and we will always remember her stories,” said CSSA Co-President Haisu Yuan, a senior in the College of Communication.
The Boston Athletic Association allocated Lu’s family 15 slots in the 2014 Boston Marathon, and the family has offered seven of the slots to members of the BU community.
Yujue Wang, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Management, has been selected to run in Lu’s memory. Wang said that although she did not know Lu, she is privileged to have the opportunity to run in her honor.
“On April 21, we will keep Lingzi in our hearts as we run the Boston Marathon,” Wang said. “We’re taking back the finish line for Lu Lingzi and we’ll show her [that] her legacy will live on.”
After the speeches, a slideshow of pictures of Lu accompanied a song titled “Stay Strong,” which was sung by Lu Meixu, a second-year graduate student in the College of Fine Arts.
Lu Meixu said she was a friend of Lu Lingzi. She said she was glad she performed with her back to the slideshow and simply seeing a picture of Lu Lingzi would make her cry.
Lu Meixu said since Lu Lingzi’s death, she and Lu Lingzi’s roommate, Jing Li, a senior in the School of Education, have tried to remain close despite their loss.
Jing recalled some of her best memories with Lu Lingzi during her speech at the vigil. She was able to keep her composure while giving her speech in English, but she broke down in tears while giving the same speech in Chinese.
“I will never forget my fear and hopelessness the night she didn’t return home,” Jing said in her speech. “Dear Lu Lingzi, we miss you so much and we will never forget you.”
When the speeches were finished, attendees gathered to construct origami birds that I Embrace You plans to put together as part of an art piece dedicated to Lu Lingzi. Others huddled around a poster to leave her a note.
The memorial concluded with three minutes of silence, each minute marked by a bell rung in respect of each of the three victims that died during the marathon.
Since Lu Lingzi’s passing, the Trustees of Boston University have established the Lu Lingzi Scholarship Fund. The scholarship provides full tuition remission for students pursuing a master’s degree, said Program Manager of BU Global Programs Luke Manley.
Lu Lingzi’s family has also established a scholarship foundation in her honor. Jing said the foundation provides educational opportunities for students who emulate Lu Lingzi’s characteristics.