Monday, April 14, 2008

Virginia Tech Remembrance Week


I debated posting something on this today versus Wednesday. I figure I can start to get my thoughts out now, and say more on the 16th as things come to me.

I still remember vividly the morning of April 16th last year. I got a text from Jay to see if I was watching the news, which at the time I wasn't. I was still in bed, but I flipped on CNN (please excuse my choice of news networks, for those of you who are sensitive about biased reporting...I don't follow politics enough to know right from wrong in this department). At the time I turned on the television, there was no massacre. There were only the reports of a gunman on campus, and two people dead in a dorm.

However, there was a campus-wide manhunt, so I remained glued to the television. I only got up briefly to shower at about noon so that I could go in to work at the newspaper. Aaron (former boss there) had a TV on in the newsroom for me when I got there, so I could keep up with what was happening while I worked. As I did my work, I kept a couple news websites open as well, to monitor from as many different perspectives as I could. As the day went on, the death tally rose and rose. It was mortifying. I was shocked. Couldn't focus on what I was doing. My hands were shaking. I had that sick feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach, the kind of feeling you get when you feel betrayed by the person closest to you. That's the only way I can think to describe it.

Everyone reading this knows what happened that day. Everyone in the nation should know. And here we are, almost one year later. It's a hard thing to go back and relive. There are a plethora of Facebook groups commemorating this student, that professor, this memorial event, etc. While I'm sure everyone has the best intentions, it sort of belittles the effect of a remembrance when everyone is trying to do their own thing. But that's neither here nor there. It's nice that everyone is trying to do their part to do whatever they think creating a Facebook group does.

The Annapolis Hokie alumni chapter is having an event as well, but I didn't reserve a spot.

So, my point--and my previous rambling has nothing to do with making a point--is this: how do you pay tribute to such a horrible event? Donating money is an easy way out. Is it enough to just spend the day thinking about the victims? Should I be somber and morose all day? Maybe set aside a block of time where I just shut myself off and be nostalgic? What's appropriate for something like this? I will obviously wear orange and maroon. Maybe that's enough. Show people I'm a part of what happened, although distantly. I wasn't there the day everything went down, but Blacksburg will always be a second home to me. I have close friends who were directly affected by the day's events. So I feel like I was--and am--a part of it. I drove down the following evening and spent the week with my friends who still live there.

For now, I think I'll see what feels right come Wednesday. I'll probably be a little somber. There will likely be stories all over the place talking about what happened, reminders everywhere.

This is the end of my rant. Suggestions and comments are encouraged, for this post more than others.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

the tradition says, honor their memory, make a blessing come from their lives - i think that means, do something for life, in honor of the people who are gone - so pick something that feels right, it could be planting something, or doing something for someone or anything else you think of, so their lives live on in your deeds