Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April 16, 2007

"While 32 of our friends and classmates are in heaven trying to explain what a Hokie is, I stand here sure in the fact that I wouldn't want to be anything else."

April 16th, 2007 started off like any other day. I woke up and checked my e-mail. There was an e-mail saying that there had been a shooting; I was a little concerned, but continued to get ready for my day anyways. There was no e-mail saying that class was cancelled; I had a quiz in my morning class (Early Rome and Christianity). I called Hunter, and we agreed to meet in our normal spot. When I met Hunter, we talked about the shooting, and suddenly we heard tons of sirens. We kept walking towards the drillfield but everyone started running the other way. We decided to turn around and go back to our dorms. Across the drill field, a tradgedy was occuring. 

I remember going up the elevator in Lee Hall, thinking that I wouldn't have to take my Geology test that I had studied all weekend for.  I was so happy; little did I know, two students in my Geology test wouldn't make it through the morning. I spent the next hours in Lee Hall, watching the news with Cary. It was surreal-- we had to keep reminding ourselves that the events going on were right outside our window. We were told to stay away from the windows, but looking out them you could see police officers with assult rifles and all of the streets blocked off. All of the news channels were reporting different things: there had been a shooting, 2 were dead, then 4; the number just kept rising. It all felt like a bad dream.

Eventually, Cary and I could not survive on the food in our dorm rooms. We decided to walk down to Owens to grab something to eat. Campus was so eerily quiet-- there was no one around. I had never seem campus so empty, so silent- like it was mourning, too. We basically ran to Owens, only to find the TVs turned on to the news stations, people crying, and a sense of panic. No one really know what was happening.

The rest of the night passed in a blur of death totals and Facebooking. Facebook and IM were really the only way to contact people. The phone lines were down and you could maybe get one text out of a 100 out. Luckily, I was able to let my family know I was ok. 

32 victims and a gunman died that day at Virginia Tech. The Hokie Nation banded together, creating make shift memorials, holding candle light vigils and celebrating the amazing lives of those that died. People asked me if I would return to VT the next year-- I could not think of anywhere else I would ever want to be. We were all bonded togehter even more now by this common experience. Now, we are all bonded together by remembering the lives of the 32 victims, by remembering their potential and cherishing every day a little more in their memory. 

"When others have moved on and life resumes its course, for us, there is only one emotion left: LOVE. Love for this university, love for the people who died on April 16th, 2007, and love for those who are left behind."

Live for 32.

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