It has been very difficult this week to express how I feel by all that is transpired. People who are not Hokies are having a hard time understanding how I can possibly feel like I do. I did not know any of the victims personally, yet I feel as if I lost a family member. I have lost all my grandparents, friends and other relatives, but I have never quite felt as sadly as I have the past few days.
Out of this tragedy has come the remarkable stories of the students and professors who passed away, their obituaries full of both accomplishment and promise. When I read about what these Hokies have achieved and aspired to achieve, I am overwhelmed with pride over this cross-section of Hokie Nation, the absolute best and brightest we have to offer.
At the same time, I look at my life, and what I have done with it, and am a little ashamed at how relatively little I’ve done with it compared to the victims of this tragedy. For me, this event, more than anything else, has truly put Ut Prosim in its highest and best context. This event has crystallized for me not only the precariousness and blessing of life and how each day truly matters, but also how I have an opportunity, simply by being alive, to do my absolute best every day to serve society, to do
my absolute best every day to be the best husband, brother, father, son, friend, public servant, and coworker I possibly can be.
One of the oft-quoted lines from the movie “The Shawshank Redemption” is the phrase “Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’.” I always thought it was a great movie line, but never quite realized, in a world where someone you don’t even know can come into your classroom and kill you, just how true that saying really is.
I feel that those who perished on April 16, 2007 had so much to offer the world, and because of those events, the world has been cheated of their efforts. Accordingly, I feel like I should do my best to take up the slack, to fill in where they tragically cannot, as a good Hokie teammate always should. Together we have no option but to take this tragedy and these emotions to inspire us to the greatness that is within each of us.
It is, I believe, the only appropriate way to honor our fallen brothers and sisters.
Hokie Hokie Hokie Hi,
Graduate Student, Urban and Regional Planning