Mourning, grief over Brown’s death felt far from Graham
Flowers placed on University of Texas campus picnic tables; hundreds of Graham students and residents bathed in the glow of candlelight; thousands gathered on UT’s main mall, arms raised in the Hook ‘em Horns sign; a fund set up for the family of the victim that’s gathered six figures already.
Expressions of grief over the murder of 19-year-old Harrison Brown of Graham have taken many forms.
Brown, a UT freshman, was killed in an horrific slashing spree Monday, done by a fellow student wielding a Bowie knife, that also left three other men wounded. His assailant was charged with first-degree felony murder Wednesday in Austin and his bail was set at $1 million.
In the wake of Brown’s senseless death, people around the state, and nation, found many ways to remember his kind nature and unbridled optimism.
Graham High School’s student council invited the community to join in a remembrance and candlelight vigil for Brown at Newton Field Tuesday night. The home stands contained hundreds of people, most wearing UT’s burnt orange, while numerous reporters and TV news cameras were set up on the track. The speakers were mostly students, and several were overcome as they struggled to share their memories, and their grief. As sunset ebbed, the orange glow of candlelight melded with the wall of orange shirts, as though the stadium’s stands were ablaze.
In Austin, flowers were placed across tables Tuesday in the plaza in front of Gregory Gym, on the UT campus, where much of the attack took place before the assailant was captured.
A video Brown had uploaded to his Facebook page back in December, in which he sings the song “I’ll Be,” by Edward McCain, has received thousands of views and hundreds of comments since Brown’s death.
The UT Catholic Center, where Brown attended church, held a full service for Brown Tuesday night, broadcast live on Facebook for those unable to attend. Father Larry Rice told the assembled, “The tragedy we’ve been through over the last day and a half has shaken our community to its core.” The service ended Tuesday with a song stating, “I will rise on eagles wings, before my God fall on my knees and rise.”
A fundraising account set up on GoFundMe.com immediately after the attacks (https://www.gofundme.com/to-the-victims-of-the-austin-attack) raised more than $100,000 in 24 hours to aid the Brown family. As of yesterday at noon, donations to that account, made in increments small and large, totaled $165,102.
On Tuesday, Sen. Craig Estes sponsored and the Texas Senate passed Senate Resolution No. 711, honoring the memory of Brown.
“Harrison Brown was an exemplary young man whose many achievements and great potential were an inspiration to all those who were privileged to share in his life,” the resolution states. “A devoted son and loving brother, he gave unselfishly to others, and his generous spirit, his boundless energy, and his enthusiasm for living each day to the fullest will not be forgotten by his family and countless friends.”
Today, Graham will say its final goodbye to its fallen son. There will be a memorial service at 1 p.m. at the Graham High School gym. It is open to all.