January 22nd will mark the first anniversary of the passing of the most decorated coach in Penn State history, Joe Paterno. A group comprised of both fans and alumni are planning a candlelight vigil in Paterno’s honor on Tuesday night.
We all know of the tragic crimes committed under the watch of Joe Paterno at Penn State and details of his knowledge of the situation are still being discussed and debated. Non-residents of Happy Valley are sure to look at this vigil quizzically, but support for both Penn State and Joe Paterno has barely wavered in Happy Valley.
According to a survey conducted by Penn State, and reported by Yahoo! Sports, support has barely slighted since the incidents.
A survey of alumni conducted for the school by an external public relations firm found that more than eight in 10 alumni remained positive toward Penn State, though that’s down from nine in 10 in 2009. The survey also found that ”recent events” still had a negative impact overall on the feelings of alumni, though the impact was less pronounced in December than in the last survey taken in May.
About 75 percent of respondents also said the school should publicly recognize Paterno for his decades of service to the school, down from 87 percent in May. The survey of 1,172 alumni was taken online and over the telephone, with a margin of error that was 2.86 percent.
The vigil will take place in front of a downtown mural of Paterno that has stood since his death a year ago. The community of Happy Valley has stood strong in their support of Paterno and this is just the latest symbol of their unwavering devotion to “Their Coach.”
Members of the Paterno family have spoken and have made clear that they will not be in attendance at the vigil.