ROTC cadets sat silently in the center rows, gazing at a picture of Victor Strizzi, the comrade they had come to honor.
Soon, the Strizzi family, escorted by uniformed men and women came down the aisle. They wept at Strizzi’s picture, which gazed back at them, bringing back the memories of the man, the friend, the leader and soldier.
The sophomore was killed Tuesday in a motorcycle crash on Bayshore Boulevard.
Chaplain Anthony Wiggins, Capt. USAF, welcomed the mourners.
‘We are here, to honor Victor, to salute him,’ Wiggins said.
He also read a scripture that resonated through the minds of the friends and family.
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am,’ he read from the Gospel of John (14:1-3).
Then, Dean of Students Bob Ruday spoke of the grief the university community is feeling.
‘I bring heartfelt sorrow to the Strizzi family from Dr. [Ronald] Vaughn,’ Ruday said.
Ruday said Strizzi would have wanted his friends and family together.
‘Please go beyond the feeling of words today’hellip;to examine your own emotions,’ Ruday said.
Then, Lt. Col. Proctor, a professor of military science, spoke about Strizzi as the cadet and the student he and many of his friends knew.
‘Remember the good times, the laughs and the celebration of his life,’ Proctor said. ‘Above all, he was a leader and friend.’
Proctor said when he first met Strizzi, he immediately saw the young man’s confidence.
Strizzi received letters from his fellow soldiers both in Iraq and Germany stating he was an excellent soldier and that his death is a true loss.
Proctor said Strizzi was able to delicately balance his body, mind and soul with God.
Roommate Andre Burrell was Strizzi’s friend and battalion leader.
‘[Strizzi] was a local humanitarian who ignited this campus with his enthusiasm,’ Burrell said.
Juan Gomez spoke of Strizzi highly and someone that he was looking forward to know even more.
Gomez was accustomed to receiving a text from Strizzi every morning for the last six months, and he recalled the first morning the text never came in.
Gomez, also on the route to medical school recalled Strizzi’s schedule and was prepared to go to each class and take notes to make sure Strizzi wouldn’t get behind while he was in the hospital.
These are the kind of friends Strizzi had and the memories of him will live a lifetime.
Then as ‘Taps’ played, the men and women in uniform stood up and remained at attention.
Wiggins concluded the service with a quote from Strizzi and scripture.
‘There is a hole inside all of us. We try and try to fill this hole with whatever we can,’ Some fill it with love, some with material items; each of us fills our hole with something, ‘in an attempt to find happiness.’ As we leave ourselves open and attempt to fill this hole, sometimes we allow darkness in our lives. ‘Our holes should be filled with God. Through HIM is the only way to find peace.’ ‘-Victor Strizzi
‘Ask and it will be given to you seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks and receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened,’ he read from the Gospel of Matthew (7:7-8)
The family left and the rest followed after.