Hundreds mourn slain student
Updated: 2013-04-24 11:52
By Zhang Yuwei, Hu Haidan and Liu Lian in New York (China Daily)
Lu Ting (center), the aunt of Lu Lingzi, who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombings, accepts gifts of paper on behalf of the family on Monday in Boston. The sheets of paper were signed by a number of students with messages of love and bereavement. Friends, families and fellow students packed Metcalf Hall at Boston University's George Sherman Student Union on Monday evening for Lu Lingzi's memorial service. Dina Rudick / Boston Globe
Friends, relatives and fellow students packed Metcalf Hall in Boston University's George Sherman Student Union on Monday for a memorial service for graduate student Lu Lingzi, who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombings. Photos by Dina Rudick / Boston Globe
Lu Jun, the father of deceased Boston University student Lu Lingzi, left the stage after giving emotional remarks in Chinese during her memorial service at Metcalf Hall in Boston University's George Sherman Student Union on Monday evening.
Friends and teachers pay tribute to Chinese student killed in Boston bombing
The wallpaper on the Chinese micro blog of Lu Lingzi, the 23-year-old Chinese graduate student killed in the Boston Marathon bombings, is a photo of her delicate hand resting on a piano keyboard.
Perhaps it was taken when she was practicing one of her favorite pieces - Chopin's Op. 48, No 1 - the same piece that was played by her Boston University piano teacher at her memorial service at the university's George Sherman Student Union on Monday.
Lu's family from China was joined by more than 1,200 students and teachers, as well as residents from Boston and nearby towns who came to mourn for Lu, one of the three young lives lost in the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15.
Lu, of the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang, came to study statistics at BU last August. Professors and friends said she managed to lead a "balanced" life - hard-working in her courses, and engaging in music and arts in her spare time. As a statistics student, she was rather versatile and not bookish at all.
"Lu was not a nerdy kid," said Zheng Minhui, Lu's good friend in the statistics program at BU.
She was a big fan of TV sitcoms and she watched dramas, such as Downton Abbey, White Collar and The Good Wife, to practise her English in her spare time, said Zheng.
The young woman impressed her teachers and peers by her "bubbly personality" that made people around feel comfortable and happy.
"She was a lovely young lady," said Eric Kolaczyk, a professor at the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the program in statistics at BU. "She was doing very well in her courses. She worked very hard."
With a degree in economics, Lu was set on becoming a financial analyst, said Kolaczyk.
"She seemed to really enjoy everything BU had to offer here," said Kolaczyk. "She was continuing studying piano with one of the teachers at college of fine arts at BU, and she was taking courses - mathematic and history - outside of statistics."
Kolaczyk first met Lu at the new students' orientation session last August.
"She had a lovely smile," he said. "She had a way of smiling that looked half serious and half ready-to-laugh; and when she would laugh, she would just burst out laughing."
Lu went on to impress her teachers with her performance in class. Just two days before the bombings, she sat qualifying exams. She would never know that she passed with "flying colors".
Rare for a master's student, Lu did statistical research on top of her course work, said Kolaczyk.
Like many overseas students in the US, she was both excited and nervous being far from home for the first time.
On her weibo micro blog site, among 45 photos she put there, most were of meals she had tried in Boston or those she cooked herself. On the morning of Boston Marathon, she uploaded a photo of a light breakfast with fruit and pastries titled "my wonderful breakfast" followed with a smiley emoticon. That last post from Lu has received more than 34,000 responses from netizens sending their condolences.
"Although our academic workload is heavy, she managed to find time to do grocery shopping and cooking," said Lu's friend Zheng. "She loved snacks and deserts and often recommended her favorites to friends."
That Patriots Day when the whole city was filled with joy and excitement about the marathon, Lu was with her two university friends - two Chinese female grad students - on Boylston Street near the race's finish line when the blasts changed everything.
Zhou Danling, one of the three, was injured in the bombings and is being treated in Boston Medical Center, and Qian Tingting, the third, was unharmed. Lu had been reported as missing until the evening of April 16, when she was confirmed as one of the fatal victims.
Cui Tiankai, China's ambassador to the United States, who visited Zhou on Friday, said the student was in stable condition and "keeping a positive attitude".
The ambassador said Zhou keeps "a positive attitude" and misses Chinese food while she still cannot eat normally.
"We promised we would treat her to a great meal once she fully recovers," said Cui.
Lu's parents learned about the news last week while the student's 80-year-old grandparents were in the room next door. Her parents were devastated at the news and asked the Chinese consulate and school not to identify her name to protect the grandparents.
"She was a quick learner since she was little and always kept a positive attitude toward life," said Lu Jun, her father.
The father recalled his daughter as an avid reader. She liked to read romance novels and love stories during her school breaks, he said.
"'Every child is actually a little Buddha that helps their parents mature and grow up,'" her father quoted a Chinese proverb at the memorial service. "We as parents admire and appreciate her kindness, courage, and her yearning for a beautiful life."
She would relax during school breaks by reading romance novels and love stories, her father said. He cited an ancient Chinese proverb: "Every child is actually a little Buddha that helps their parents mature and grow up."
At the end of the memorial, the family stood in the front row and bowed to the audience.
"We as parents admire and appreciate her kindness, courage, and her yearning for a beautiful life," he said.
"It's like getting hit - it's literally like getting punched. It's just like nothing holding you up for a second," Kolaczyk said, referring to the moment when he heard Lu had died.
Lu, who managed to juggle different courses for her studies, planned to graduate within three semesters, by this December.
"It's this certain emptiness and sudden loss that all of the potential you saw in that person suddenly is gone, particularly for a teacher," Kolaczyk said.
A scholarship in Lu's honor was set up last Thursday at BU and has already received more than $560,000 in funding.
"It was an idea that many people had at the same time within hours of hearing that she had died," said the professor.
The memorial service came about the same time when the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen who moved to the US about a decade ago as a refugee and became a US citizen last year, was charged in the bombings. He and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are accused of carrying out the deadly bombings, killing three and injuring more than 260. The older brother was killed in a later shootout with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer. The officer also died.
As Boston experienced relief after a week of horror, the innocent lives lost during the explosions are deeply remembered by many they never met when were alive.
Luis Vasquez, 25, who attended the same high school with the Tsarnaev brothers, said earlier that they turned out to be far different than the people he knew. He was shocked by their identification as suspects.
"What I'm really upset about, beyond the fact that they did this, are the three lives that were lost," said Vasquez, who used to coach the younger Tsarnaev's soccer team.
"The Chinese student - her family let her come this way and they put her in our hands; they saw America as a great opportunity for her to grow and to be the best she could be, and we failed. We didn't do that job because of two lunatics," he said.