Vigil

The XXX High School will hold a vigil in memory of “Kevin Smith” on Friday, Feb. 15.

The 15-year-old Smith passed away tragically during the weekend in a house fire.

Participants are asked to wear red to the vigil. Students may donate $2 for dress-down day. All proceeds will go to the family.

This is a horrible tragedy and I feel stupid for asking questions. But I really want to figure out what this means.

Why are people asked to wear red? To symbolize the fire? Isn’t this really crude?

What is a “dress-down day” and why do students donate money for it?

Are these cultural traditions I’m not aware of?

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5 comments on “Vigil

  1. Red may have been his favorite color, be the town sports team’s color, or be an arbitrary choice selected to give the participants a sense of community.

    I assume the school has uniforms. In which case, there are probably several days throughout the year on which they may exchange a donation for the option to wear street clothes.

    • “Red may have been his favorite color, be the town sports team’s color, or be an arbitrary choice selected to give the participants a sense of community.”

      – This is certainly a lot less creepy that I assumed at first.

  2. This sort of morbid ceremonial thing at schools centered around dead kids has become big in recent years. Maybe it’s better than the relatively discreet way tragedies like this were handled in the past, but I’m not so sure. I suppose it depends on the circumstances and the size of the school.

    How it was handled in the past, at least in my part of the world: there might have been a special speech at assembly or something, and a notice of a memorial ceremony *outside* of the school put up, but no kid who wasn’t friends or family of the dead kid was dragged into having to mourn for someone they didn’t know. Then again, I went to a school with 2500 students not one in a small town.

  3. At my highschool, one of the kids died from cancer. Some members of the prom committee initially wanted to dedicate the dance to him, with Tears in Heaven as the featured song.

    A vigil is a MUCH more appropriate way to handle things. For a lot of these kids, it’s the first time they’ve been faced with death, and they hyper focus on what they feel versus what they think they should be feeling– MTV actually did a Daria episode about the weird way US highschool students (in areas where there isn’t a ton of violence and death) tend to grieve their own.

  4. Very annoying for parents if your child happens not to have any ‘red ‘ clothes in their wardrobe and you end up spending more on new clothes than whatever you may donate!

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