Stanford holds China quake memorial

May 20, 2008 9:31:48 AM PDT
It's been a week since a 7.9 earthquake in China, and on Monday, a billion people throughout the country paused for three minutes to remember.

The death toll from the quake stands at 34,000.

"I wish I could be there to hold their hands," says Stanford engineering student Yueming Qui.

Qui is a Stanford engineering student from Sichuan China. Her voice was cracking with emotion as she told more than 400 students, professors and others at a memorial in Stanford's chapel, how her family and county has suffered from the earthquake.

"Across all the counties of Yuyuan, more than 10,000 people have lost their lives. Thousands of families broke their hearts and lost their beloved members."

Qui says her family is fine, but they have been forced to live outdoors.

"I hope that the weather in Yuyuan is warm enough so that my parents would not catch cold."

The memorial and relief drive for those lost in the quake was the work of the 1,000 member Association of Chinese Students and Scholars of Stanford University.

Many of the students still have family in China. Economics student Dilys Sun spoke to her family this morning. They live near the epicenter.

"My extended family has at least seven to ten people and they only have one tent. No matter how much you pay, you can not find one."

These students say they've been haunted by the images they've seen on the news.

"Every time I saw the pictures of the victims in Sichuan with helpless eyes," says Qui.

"San Franciscans are very prepared. We are very lucky as Bay Area residents. These people have never experienced earthquake in their entire lives, never thought it would happen," says Sun.

The memorial ended Monday with a musical lament. Candles in the shape of the date of the quake, May 12, were lit at the chapel's altar by students mourning those who were lost.


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