Thursday, April 16, 2009

Virginia Tech - We Remember - April 16, 2007


My husband Jim and I are Virginia Tech alumnae. We met the first week of our freshman year and began dating a few months later. Being a native Virginian, most of my extended family that got to go to college attended Virginia Tech, including my brother, many cousins, and my cousins’ children. Our daughter Megan graduated from Tech in 2006 and our daughter Laura is currently a student there. Jim and I have a close group of friends with season tickets for football, and home games and tailgate parties are highlights of the fall. Now many of us are enjoying seeing the next generation experience the magic of Virginia Tech.

On April 16, 2007 Jim and I were enjoying a long weekend in Virginia. Our plan was to hike around Rocky Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway that Monday morning. We woke up to snow but, always optimists, we drove to our trailhead anyway – or at least as close as we could get because the Parkway was completely iced over. Disappointed, we decided to go into Floyd and have lunch. We were sitting in a little diner when our daughter Megan called to tell us that someone was shooting people on the Virginia Tech campus. She had very few details but it sounded serious. Jim and I jumped in the car to go back to our little cabin, turning on the radio to find some news. In the 20 minutes it took us to drive back to our cabin, the death toll continually climbed. At the cabin we turned on CNN and the world shifted as images streamed in of chaos at one of the places we love most on earth. We packed our bags, went home to Charlotte, and were glued to the TV with the rest of the world, grieving and disbelieving.

I went to Virginia Tech yesterday to hear an author speak, Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea). I arrived early so I could walk around campus a bit. I visited the April 16 Memorial, as we always do when we are on campus. It never fails to invoke feelings of deep sadness but also tremendous pride for this community that mourned together and then lifted each other up. My continued thoughts and prayers are with the families of the people who died that day and also with the survivors. I also say a prayer for the shooter, Cho. While my view is not a popular one, I believe that he was severely mentally ill and suffered much before a power overtook him and led him to his decisions. I say a prayer for his parents and his sister, whose lives were also forever changed that day. If you have a moment, please visit this website today and pause to remember. Check out the photo gallery for images throughout the day.

No comments: