Thursday, April 16, 2009

Four One Six

If any of you are unaware, I went to Virginia Tech and I was on campus two years ago today when a disturbed(to say the least) student killed thirty-two people and then him self. 

I still can't quite figure out how I feel about the events and the two years afterwards, but I felt I should contribute something other than the "We. Are. Virginia. Tech." currently occupying my Facebook status. It goes without saying that this anniversary deserves more that four words on a social network page. So here goes. 

From the first seconds of the day I felt that something was off. I remember on my walk to work I kept looking at the date on my watch and thinking I had forgotten someone's birthday or a deadline I had at work.

Later, when I stood at the window watching the police surround Norris, I had no clue what I was witnessing. Even when I went home and continued to watch events unfold on CNN, everything remained surreal. The television allowed for a certain amount of distance, it was like watching any other new event; you feel sad for the people on the TV, but your life is not directly affected. 

For me it didn't solidify until that evening when I went to the vigil. As I stood in the crowd of people singing Amazing Grace I felt like I was just playing a part. All of it so familiar from similar scenes in movies and newscasts. It wasn't until I heard from the back of the crowd, "Let's go...!" and then everyone(myself included) responding, "Hokies!" that my heart sank and I began to cry. From there it just got worse. At about 10pm I received an email saying that my friend and co-worker Jaime was on of the victims. I had spent all day trying to think of everyone I knew who might have been in that building and Jaime was the one who never crossed my mind. Sometimes I still feel like if I had simply remembered to think of him, maybe he would still be alive.  

I realize that many of my words are cliche and its frustrating to not be able to fully express or understand the many emotions that are breed from an occasion such as this. But this is my offering, more for myself than for anyone reading, but it's here none the less. 

So, two years later here I am. I will go to a vigil tonight at Madision Square Park and stand with my fellow Hokies and remember. And that's all I want from everyone else. Please acknowledge this day. If you know a Hokie or see one on the street take five seconds to tell them that you haven't forgotten.

To all of my friends and especially those whom I met at Tech, I love you and wouldn't trade my time there for anything in the world. 

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