Time seems to fly faster as we age. It’s hard to believe that it has been 11 years since the Virginia Tech shooting. Forty-nine people were shot by Seung-hui Cho, including one of my friends who was shot in the face and was lucky to survive. I had already graduated two years prior and was working in Alexandria, Virginia at the time of the shooting. I have reprinted my original post from 2007 below, in memoriam.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was sitting in a classroom on the second floor of Norris Hall in Blacksburg, Virginia. Classes had been canceled already, but the room was full as we all stared silently at the remains of the twin towers on the TV. How ironic that several years later those classrooms on the second floor of Norris Hall would host another tragic event.
Like 9/11, every Hokie will remember where he or she was on the morning of 4/16. I was sitting at my desk in my office when my officemate turned and asked, “didn’t you go to Virginia Tech?” He motioned to his computer screen showing the front page of CNN.com. Since then, I have been in shock that something like that could ever happen in Blacksburg.
I think of Blacksburg as my hometown. I lived in Blacksburg for seven years—longer than any other town I have ever lived in. Blacksburg is a quiet, beautiful town. Sometimes I think about moving back someday. The day after the tragedy I had an impulse to take leave from work and drive down to Blacksburg, just to be a part of the tragedy that will linger with every Hokie from this day on.
The events of 4/16 will be remembered as long as there are Hokies. From now on, Virginia Tech will be remembered as the site of one of the worst shootings in modern U.S. history. From now on, this tragedy will be recalled every time a prospective employer sees “Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University” prominently displayed on a resume, every time a high school hopeful considers Virginia Tech, every time a sports team takes the field to represent the university, and every time we proudly declare ourselves to be Hokies.