God welcoming another Hokie into heaven
"I don’t know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them." -Lee Corso
Virginia Tech, BSEE 1987
This photo symbolizes how it felt that day that we came back to campus in April 2007 to embrace and celebrate the Hokie Love that was in Blacksburg.
Today, 4 years after the horrific incident took place in the building that we were facing, we walked through the hallways and gained somewhat of an acceptance of everything.
It was real and it was terrible. It hurt us all a lot, and still hurts. But we are stronger because of it. We are Virginia Tech and we are Hokies.
It is hard to believe it has been four years. It is hard to believe so much time has passed since one of the worst days of our lives. Yet, the memory of it is still vivid. I still cannot walk by the…
I’m sitting here and I can’t help thinking that I just don’t have the words for this week. I’m one of the Hokies in an awkward situation. I wasn’t a student on April 16th, 2007. I hadn’t even applied to Virginia Tech yet.
I remember watching the news on my calculus teacher’s television, a Hokie Alumnae. At the time, all I knew of Virginia Tech was that I liked their football team—thanks to Mike Vick and it was a good engineering school, a profession I thought I could enjoy one day.
I’ve always had a somewhat addictive personality and when the events of April 16th unfolded, I had to know more. I needed to know more about the people it had affected, I needed to know more about why it had happened to such a quiet community up in the mountains (except during football season, of course). On that day, I took to the library. I hopped on a computer and I read the news as it came in. I watched the death toll rise to 32. I watched the number of people injured climb to 25, not including those who had been mentally and emotionally scarred. As I continued this research, I began to learn more about Virginia Tech—before April 16th, 2007.
It was on that day, watching the tragedy unravel that I began to learn about Virginia Tech’s incredible past, their potential for the future and that I decided I wanted to be a Hokie. I applied to Virginia Tech, as soon as I could, in the Fall of 2007 and was accepted in March 2008. After one rather quick discussion about out-of-state tuition with my parents, my deposit was sent in.
Since I became a student at Virginia Tech, not only have I learned more about that incredible past but I’ve learned about our traditions, our successes, our strengths, our few weaknesses, but most of all—I’ve learned what it is to be a Hokie. Everytime I tell someone that I attend Virginia Tech, they ask me what a Hokie is…but how do you explain that to someone?
How do you tell someone that has never been to Blacksburg that a Hokie is not a Turkey, that it’s not really even a bird. A Hokie is a state of mind. It’s a sense of community. It’s a feeling of pride. It stretches from our football fields to our classrooms, from our undergraduate programs to our graduate studies, from our Greek Life to our Res Life, and, physically, from War Memorial Chapel to Lane Stadium and back to the Duck Pond. Being a Hokie is about consistently being the#1 Collegiate Relay For Life, it’s about Hokie Camp and The Ring Dance and SGA and the #1 Panhellenic Council in the Nation, being a Hokie is about an unconditional love for our little town tucked away in a deep valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
So, here’s my challenge to you. As this week passes, you may hear of April 16th in small talk throughout your day or on the news for the anniversary, or you may not hear of it at all, but I challenge you to learn something else about Virginia Tech. There is nothing that kills a Hokie more than Google Image searching “Virginia Tech,” looking for a picture of iconic Burruss Hall or Torg Bridge or Lane Stadium and instead, finding the man whose hands killed 32 of our dear Hokies as thevery first picture.
As I continue my education at Virginia Tech: I’ll pass the April 16th Memorial a few thousand times more, I’ll take a few classes in Norris Hall, and I’ll always wake up every single day Thanking God that I’m a Hokie.
Judge us not by our tragedies, but instead of the triumph over our adversities.
Already posted this this week, but it deserves to be read again :)
“We Remember” by Jim Stroup, Virginia Tech.
“Nearly 12,000 people attended the candlelight vigil held in honor of the victims of the tragedy of 4/16/2007.”
We Are Virginia Tech.