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Community mourns loss of local teenagers, exchange students

Friends, family and some of those closest to the four teenagers who died a car accident last week came together for a candlelight vigil in Plattsburgh Barracks Veterans Park Nov. 16, just a day after the tragic event.

Friends, family and some of those closest to the four teenagers who died a car accident last week came together for a candlelight vigil in Plattsburgh Barracks Veterans Park Nov. 16, just a day after the tragic event. Photo by Jeremiah S. Papineau.

— “There were a lot of good memories with Dat,” he said. “We’re all going to miss him a lot. It was something that happened and we’ve all got to work through it and stay together.”

James Morgan, a friend of Xiong, who was referred to by many as “Allen,” recalled how Xiong was always smiling.

“He would always wave at me and smile and I would wave and smile back,” said Morgan. “Three hours before he died, he waved at me and smiled at me and I was on my cell phone and I didn’t wave or smile back. I just kept on walking. I kind of regret that now.”

The Rev. Timothy Canaan, pastor of St. John’s Church, offered words of comfort for those attending the vigil.

“Don’t let anybody tell you that this is God’s will, because this is not our God,” said Canaan. “Our God does not do these kinds of horrific and tragic acts. But, it’s in these dark moments that our God is there.”

Canaan added it was heartwarming to see the community come out in support of the families of the four teenagers — a sentiment echoed by Daugherty.

“This really shows how a community can come together in a time of distress,” she said.

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