Knights Unite

photo 1Wednesday night students and teachers of all majors joined together to honor a fallen knight at the heart of campus.

A vigil was held the day after the announcement was made that Steven Sotloff had lost his life in the Middle East. The vigil was organized by three different student groups at UCF to honor Sotloff’s memory.

Hundreds of students gathered around the Reflecting Pond at approximately 9 p.m. with candles in hand to listen to speakers share their thoughts and emotions.

The candles were then placed around the edge of the Reflecting Pond as an act of remembrance for Sotloff’s work and sacrifices in the name of journalism.

Sotloff was a student at the University of Central Florida from 2002-04 and was a pending journalism major when he left school to return home to Miami then continue to the Middle East. He wanted to give a voice to people who didn’t have one. Spokesman Barak Barfi told the Orlando Sentinel that the young journalist felt he needed to tell the stories of average people in war zones. The Middle East and Arab world kept drawing him in over and over.

According to Central Florida Future Sotloff was freelancing for TIME and other publications while working in the Middle East in locations such as Iraq and Turkey.

A Facebook event was created for the vigil, inviting 1,400 people. Mourners from across the country joined in, posting photos and well wishes for Sotloff’s family.

Accompanying a photo of two white candles lit on a table with flowers, one participant posted “For Steven and James…our hearts are heavy as we honor both lives taken. Sending love and strength to each of their families during this unimaginable time of grief. Lewis and Caroline Jones, San Francisco, CA.”
All around the nation current and former UCF students felt the shock and grief of losing a fellow knight.

“Our UCF family mourns Steven’s death, and we join millions of people around the world who are outraged at this despicable and unjustifiable act,” UCF President John C. Hitt said in a statement.

Although Sotloff attended UCF over 10 years ago students feel connected to the tragic loss of a knight through the tightly knit community that UCF has become.

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