Today is the anniversary of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families, relatives and friends of those who lost their lives on April 16th, 2007 in this senseless tragedy.....
There is a permanent memorial at VT. The Collegiate Times has a nice article describing the memorial.
My memories of April 16th, 2007 started with a phone call from my wife. Julie called and said, "just wanted to let you know that John is fine." At the time I was on my SunRay reading email while on a con call when she called my cellphone. She never calls me during theday since she is a school teacher. "Why would John not be be fine?" I asked. She asked me if I was watching TV or listening to the news. Of course I was not watching TV or listening to the news. She explained what was going on. I immediately interrupted the Sun folks on the con call and quickly said, "I had to get off the call, there was a shooting at my son's school."
It was then that I turned on the TV and was shocked to see the peaceful and beautiful VT campus on the news. I started getting emails, phone calls from literally around the world checking on John. You sometimes forget in casual conversation that you mentioned something about your kids that your friends and colleagues remember. Every time a call came, I paused the DVR. I was getting the current updates from friend, colleagues\s and family all around the world via email and non stop phone calls. As the numbers kept rising, it became more and more surreal.
My son John was working for the Collegiate Times during his freshman year. He put together a very nice week long history of events starting on April 16th through April 23rd that shows what happened each day.
I can not imagine the horror the students and faculty must have felt. There was an article in the post today by Nick Miroff, titled, "A Year Later, Virginia Tech Is Still Healing" is a well written article worth reading. As Miroff points out:
"Virginia Tech students have learned to talk about it in shorthand, if they talk about it at all. This Story
They do not use the words massacre, or shootings, or rampage. They call it "April 16th," and sometimes not even that. To say "four-sixteen" is enough. Everyone knows."
I have been back to VT many times since April 16th, 2007 both as a parent and working for Sun Microsystems where I have given talks and brought down Sun's thought leaders to speak at VT's ACM where my son John is President. Each time, the first thing I do is visit the memorial
"On April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech University suffered a terrible tragedy. Today, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and the entire Virginia Tech community.
"In the year that has passed since that horrible day, we have grieved for those we lost and prayed for the comfort of their loved ones. We have rejoiced in the recovery of those who were injured. We have been inspired by the unfaltering hope and Hokie spirit of Virginia Tech. And we have renewed our commitment to do even more to learn lessons from that day and to make our campuses and communities safer.
"As I think about the victims' families, I am at a loss for words to express what is in my heart. The courage and strength they have shown in the face of such tremendous, tragic loss is awe-inspiring. We have been inspired by the resilient Hokie spirit of Virginia Tech, both in Blacksburg and around the world. Since that tragic day last April, the unshakeable sense of unity and hope demonstrated by the Hokies has touched the lives of people around the world. Their focus on pulling together to support their school and each other in the days after the shooting, and their commitment to public service through the VT Engage program in the months that followed has moved us all.
"We still have work to do. A continued commitment to improvement is the best tribute we can pay to those who lost so much. And as we move forward, we will continue to be inspired by those in the Hokie Nation."