Monday, May 14, 2007

A Visit to Virginia Tech

A. and I took the girls over to Blacksburg today to visit my youngest sister, who still lives in the area. After a great lunch at a local eatery, we took a stroll over on campus to enjoy the great weather and the beautiful scenery. Another goal, though, was to stop at the memorials that had been established for the victims of the April shootings on campus; MB got bored early and wandered with my sister on down to the duck pond, but A. and I (with our youngest) stayed behind to spend some time at the memorials.

I wasn't prepared, however, for just how emotional the experience would be for me. I was certainly very concerned about my sister's safety the day of the shootings, as well as that of any of her friends in the college community. Being removed from it like I was, though, I could only begin to imagine just how difficult it was for the Blacksburg community and the families of the thousands of students in the days after the event. When I saw the memorial to Professor Librescu (above), my emotions stared to get the best of me.

And as we walked and looked at the subsequent memorials blanketed with flowers, notes, pictures, and mementos left by friends and family members, I really got emotional. A picture of one of the victims with a friend, and a note left by that friend asking that God watch over her. Another picture of a young man in his lacrosse uniform -- an example of just how vibrant each of the members of the Virginia Tech community these people were. From a certain angle, all of the individual memorials blended together (above) into one large display, another example of how, while this may be a college made up of thousands of men and women, it is also a single family.

Amazingly, and in a touching display, the central area of campus was ringed by banners and messages sent from other colleges around the country. As but one of many examples of the message of concern and love they demonstrated, one sent by the student body of San Diego State University read:

San Diego State
Aztecs
Hokies

Behind it all, one of the main buildings on campus towered behind the beautiful, touching, emotional displays. If there was any sure sign of the continuing strength of this beautiful place and wonderful community, it is this building.

3 comments:

rdl said...

nice post & pics; like how yr. words and pics went together like the blended pic.

trace said...

thanks for sharing this matt

Dave said...

A fine, fitting tribute, Matt. It's sad how a terrible event like this can just recede into "old news" - this kind of report keeps us in touch with reality.