8 years

This day hits me hard. Every single year.

Eight years ago today, I was at work at Enterprise, just going about my day. I vividly remember walking back into my office from running an errand or helping a customer, and our lot attendant telling me there was a shooting in Blacksburg.

I don’t remember his exact words. I remember thinking he must be mistaken. I remember walking over to the TV and being horrified by what I saw.

Scared.

Heartbroken.

Disbelieving.

I remember frantically dialing every person I knew in Blacksburg, only to be greeted by busy signals, for hours upon hours. I remember wishing my office didn’t block Facebook so I could see if everyone I knew was ok. I remember watching it all unfold on television, unable to move from my spot. I remember the relief when I found that I was one of the luckiest ones, fortunate to not personally know anyone who was killed or injured.

Or was I lucky at all? Were any of us?

Because the truth of the matter is, I did know them. I still know them. I knew them as my fellow Hokies. The people I saw walking across the drillfield. The people I served when I was working in Dining Services. The friends of my friends. The professors that worked hard to teach my classmates. The people cheering in the stands with me in Lane Stadium. The cadets walking by me in formations. Everyone who was hurt or injured had chosen to be a Hokie. Everyone had that in common with me, and therefore I knew them.

So, today is a complicated day for me. It’s a day of sadness, remembrance, and wishing for what might have been. At the same time, it’s a day I’m proud to be a Hokie, to be part of this community.

I will never forget them.

April 16

“While 32 of our friends and classmates are in Heaven trying to explain what a Hokie is, I stand here sure in the fact that I wouldn’t want to be anything else.”

Live for 32.

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10 Comments

  1. April 16, 2015 / 9:14 am

    Wow, so you went to Virginia Tech? I can’t even imagine the horror you went through that day. That is literally my biggest fear nowdays- a mass shooting could happen anywhere by some crazy. Sadly, they are not uncommon…movie theaters, bombings at Marathons..it’s just so sad.
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    • Jess
      April 20, 2015 / 3:45 pm

      I did. I had already graduated, but I still felt it as if I was there.

  2. April 16, 2015 / 1:48 pm

    I was a sophomore at Tech when this happened and every year it hits me like a ton of bricks too. I graduated in 2009 but I just moved back to Blacksburg last year to get another degree from VT, so this is my first 4/16 here in several years. I was so anxious about today, I didn’t know what it would feel like to be on campus on this day for the first time in several years. It’s strange looking at places that look and feel so much the same, yet so different from how they looked 8 years ago. It’s hard but I don’t think there’s anywhere else I’d want to be today. Thanks for sharing this! Hokie love!
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    • Jess
      April 20, 2015 / 3:45 pm

      HUGS to you my friend. I hope Thursday was okay for you. Hokie love back to you!

    • Jess
      April 20, 2015 / 3:46 pm

      I bet. It’s something anyone connected with a tragedy can understand. I’ll be thinking of you on that anniversary. <3

    • Jess
      April 20, 2015 / 3:46 pm

      XOXO right back.

  3. April 17, 2015 / 9:10 am

    I can’t even imagine going through that. I’m sure this is now one of the greatest fears in America. I know I’m scared to send my son to school because of it. Hopefully, my fears will lower once he starts school.
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    • Jess
      April 20, 2015 / 3:47 pm

      It’s definitely scary, and unfortunately not something you can predict or prevent. Only prevail.