The sound of a bell ringing at 8:30 this morning pierced the stillness of a campus that had grown quiet while faculty and staff wrapped up their work for the semester, looking forward to a holiday break that students began a few days ago.
But unlike the carillon bells in the Tower of Light that call Abilene Christian University students, faculty and staff to Chapel each weekday, this was for a decidedly more somber reason: to remember the lives lost during last week’s schoolhouse shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
Members of the ACU campus community gathered at the bell tower north of the McGlothlin Campus Center for a time of reflection timed to coincide with the 9:30 a.m. EST observances at churches and schools around the nation.
Dr. Gary McCaleb (’64), vice president of the university, read the name of each teacher and child. With the reading of each name, Isabel Brindle, a records management clerk in ACU’s Advancement Services office, rang the bell.
“We are connected in spirit to the community of Newtown because both our schools value every student and feel those young people should be known and loved as individuals by name,” said McCaleb. “Both of our communities also honor teachers who commit their lives to preparing youth to lead meaningful lives. We may be far away in terms of distance, but we’re close in terms of our appreciation for the value of life. No man is an island, as the poet John Dunne said long ago; every death diminishes us because we are a part of all mankind.”
“We stand with the people of Newtown, to honor and comfort them and to remember those who have gone on to be with the Lord,” said Brindle, whose heart for children has been demonstrated by teaching first-graders in Sunday morning Bible class the past 30 years. “This was just one small act to let them know we stand with them. They are not alone.”