LONG BEACH, Calif., Nov. 16 (UPI) — Hundreds packed a ballroom Sunday at the California State University, Long Beach for the vigil of the young U.S. student who was killed in the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, a design student at the university, was in Paris on a semester-abroad program at Strate College of Design. Her dream was to visit Paris. Gonzalez and her friends were at a bistro on Friday when one of the gunmen opened fire as they drove by. Gonzalez was shot and later died.
Family, faculty, friends and students filled the room. The memorial began with the school’s choir performing “Sing Me to Heaven.”
“Cal State Long Beach may be a large, urban university, located in a big city, but when we lose a member of our campus community it affects us all,” said Carmen Taylor, vice president of student affairs at the university.
At a podium in front of the flags of France, the United States and the state of California, Gonzalez’s cousin, Ellie, offered her tearful remarks.
“This is still a really big shock. I don’t believe it’s real, that this happened,” she said. “I’m going to miss her and I love her so much.”
Martin Herman, Department of Design chair at the university, said he hoped Gonzalez’s “voice, her bright spirit, her playfulness, her idealism, hopes, continue to inspire and illuminate our university family and all those that she touched.”
Mourners held a candlelight vigil outside after the ceremony.