Four hundred nine candles were lit at the Inspiration Mural on Heister Street on Tuesday to honor the one-year anniversary of Joe Paterno’s death.
All across the Inspiration Mural stood paper bag lanterns sent from around the country to honor Penn State’s former head football coach.
“This event was meant for the 409 candles to be lit, and it’s a great feeling to have the Penn State community show their support tonight,” said Michael Pilato, Executive Director of the Public Art Academy and artist of the mural.
Aside the candles stood a cardboard cutout of Joe Paterno as well as a sign that said, “Joe Pa legends never die.” The vigil began with students, alumni, and members of the community singing the Penn State Alma Mater and chanting “Joe Pa-ter-no.”
Then, Pilato began to thank everyone for attending the vigil and reflected upon Paterno’s life and the idea of sensationalism.
“If you look at Joe Paterno’s life, he’s an amazing individual and he has so much sensationalism,” Pilato said.
Pilato also went into details about how the media portrayed Paterno differently and told the audience about his personal experience with sensationalism during his trip to Moldova.
“There was so much media criticism about Moldova and how it was a cruel place,” Pilato said. “However, when I arrived there, I found that it was a great country and there were so many beautiful people there.”
Despite cold weather conditions, as temperatures hovered in single digits, there were about a hundred students that attended the event.
“Joe Paterno has meant so much to me. Throughout his time, he gave so much to Penn State and I wanted to pay my respects,” Ryan Belz (freshman - meteorology) said.
Aaron Jacobs (sophomore - biology)said he believes that Joe Paterno was an ideal figure to look up to.
“Joe Paterno represented what a person should be like, always thinking for other people,” Jacobs said.