Monday, April 23, 2007

Once a Hokie, Always a Hokie

I have no idea who made this image, if you know please tell me

The past week has been so very rough for all of us due to the shootings on my beloved Virginia Tech campus. I am happy to report that no one I knew was injured or killed, including my brother, although many of my friends' friends were not so lucky. Whenever I check Facebook I see messages about dead friends from those on my friends list, and new groups in honor of the victims, the administration, and the school. There is so much grief, but yet there is a determination and spirit as well. Nikki Giovanni was so right when she said We are Virginia Tech. We will prevail!

Maybe someone from another school wouldn't see it or understand it, but you don't stop being a Hokie when you graduate. You don't stop being a Hokie if you drop out. You don't even have to go to VT to be a Hokie. And as was demonstrated in a horrible way on Monday, you don't stop being a Hokie even in death. Virginia Tech For Life is an alumni motto, but I think Virginia Tech for Life and Beyond might be a better fitting one. You know what we say: If God isn't a Hokie, why do the leaves turn orange and maroon?.

Being so far from home when something like this happens it just terrible. I want to be able to go to the vigils at VT and support my Hokies. Even though I didn't lose anyone I knew, I still lost members of my Hokie Family. My friends are suffering, and I can't be there for them. I spoke to my mother on instant messenger for hours last Monday as she filled me in on details that she got on the local news before they reached me on the Internet or TV. I checked up on people via Facebook because cellphones weren't always working, and I don't have everyone's number anyway.

At the vigil, I'm sure it's copyrighted to the newspaper but it's me so they can deal

It has been wonderful to see such support from around the country though. At my current school we had a vigil on Thursday night to honor the victims and help everyone find some peace. It was fabulous to see such a great turnout, and to meet other Hokies that were also so far from home. We all cried (at least we alumni did), there was beautiful music, and everyone had the chance to write a note to send to VT. My boyfriend wrote "I never knew what true school spirit was until I met a Virginia Tech graduate." and then continued about how VT would prevail and survive. That touched me so much, especially because it was straight from his heart.

Also, last Friday was Hokie Hope Day, also called Orange and Maroon Effect Day, and was devised by VT alumni. It was great to see the word spread through the internet and finally through the Alumni Association. Many people in my department wore maroon and/or orange to show their support, and it truly touched my heart.

The world lost many wonderful people last Monday, and the world continues to grieve. I am happy to say a week later that the healing has begun. Although it will be difficult for a long time for those that lost loved ones and friends, they will pull through. It is a tragedy that something so horrible could happen to such a wonderful university, but Virginia Tech has a community that will pull together and rally. They will support each other, even as the alumni support them with our thoughts and prayers from far away. Virginia Tech is not weak enough to fall by the actions of one man. Although there is much heartache, confusion, and disbelief, one day the Hokie Nation will return to normal. We will never forget, and our mourning will last for a long time, but we will triumph over our fears and sadness.

We are Virginia Tech, and We will prevail!