April 23, 2007


People with far more talent than I have written at length about the tragedy at Virginia Tech, what it means to the university, the students, and perhaps to us as people. With the exception of that first day, I haven't had many words about it myself; it's been more of a quiet sadness, watching the pictures from campus, hearing the stories of the victims, and enduring the words of those who would co-opt the deaths of innocent students for their own purposes. By the end of the week, I was just tired. I had run out of energy even to respond to the kind messages from people who cared about me. It got to be difficult to write what amounted to the same message saying, "yes, I'm fine, thanks for asking," much as I deeply appreciated the thought. I'm getting to it, but not quite as fast as perhaps I should.

I have to admit, the whole thing hit me a bit harder than I had expected. I mean, sure, I went to school there and everything, but I haven't been back in almost ten years and I don't know anyone down there, with the exception of a professor or two. But there it was, a surprising weight in my gut. It got a bit heavier as I read the updates, and as I flipped past all of the news programs, since it seemed like everyone in the world was broadcasting from Blacksburg last week. Well, everyone except Lee Corso, who I think we'd all agree would have been a great break from what we'd been getting. I'd have gladly paid a dollar to have Lee walk around campus with that Hokie head on. Okay, maybe two. Just would have been a welcome change of pace, I'm guessing. But alas, no. We got what we got, and I'd had enough.

It still weighs on me, and probably will for a long time. What has been amazing, though, is the amount of support that I've gotten from people near and far, both fellow alums and folks with no clear connection to the school at all. Friday, I saw a truly humbling amount of maroon and orange around DC, and it's all been extremely heartwarming. I just want to take a second and thank everyone for their kind words, emails, phone calls, blog posts, you name it. It's been a great help to me, and I'm sure it's been for others as well.

It's Monday, the start of a new week. The students at Virginia Tech head back to classes today, and begin the extremely long, difficult road back towards normal (or something that passes for it). I just hope that the rest of the world lets them.


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