I took the opportunity yesterday to head over to campus. Day one was absolute shock. Day two was horrible grief and sadness. Yesterday, I finally felt that I needed to deal with my mourning and visit campus to see the memorials and pay my respects. I found the overall scene to be surreal and a somewhat different picture than most are seeing on the news.
On a beautiful spring day that would normally have been crowded with students and full of excitement as the semester is drawing to a close, the entire campus was absolutely quiet. Eerie to say the least. Numerous memorials have sprung up on the Drillfield and I grabbed my camera to capture some of the images. I knew that most of my Hokie friends would want to see what I saw. The entire Flickr photo set can be found here.
After sending out the these images last night, I received numerous comments from friends that echoed my feelings exactly.
Thank you for these pictures. These are not the images that are making it to us and I appreciate you sharing.
I have never been so proud to be a Hokie.
One of my initial fears was this tragedy would forever identify Blacksburg and Virginia Tech. Would this wonderful community, town, and campus be permanently marred by this horrific act? After watching the events unfold over the past several days, I’m comforted by the strength and spirit of the entire Hokie family. Anyone who has ever visited Virginia Tech instantly knows that this is a very special place.
When I was a high school senior in Western Pennsylvania, we visited Blacksburg just to check out Virginia Tech. My family was driving back from another trip so we decided to just stop by the school as I had been accepted. I didn’t really think I was coming to Virginia Tech though. I already had accepted early admission to Penn State, had several scholarships, and even paid admission fees to the school. But when I visited Blacksburg and Virginia Tech, despite the day being bleak and rainy, I just knew I had to go to school here. Even then, from day one of my exposure to this university, the friendliness and sense of community was evident.
Almost seventeen years later, after two degrees from Virginia Tech, moving my business to Blacksburg, buying a house here, getting married in the chapel on campus, and now being faculty, this is and has been my home. A core part of my identity is this school and being a Hokie.
So I’m not worried about what anyone’s perceptions may be of Virginia Tech. I know that the world has been given a chance to see what we’re made of and who we are as Hokies. I’m confident these tragic events will only help us become a stronger, more close-knit community. I hope the stories of heroism and courage will rise above one person’s evil acts.
I can honestly say I’ve never been more proud to be a Hokie.