Monday night a Vigil to commemorate the fallen Virginia Tech students and professors was held. Tens of thousands of students, teachers, and the community all showed up to take part in in the Vigil. To quote Nick Dallamora(a Virginia Tech student) of the AOL Fanhouse and The Dugout ...
The convocation turned into a terrific showing of Hokie spirit, as the 10k seat basketball arena was filled to capacity, including seats covering the parquet. The rest of us were directed to Lane Stadium to watch on the big screen. Governor Kaine and President Bush both gave terrific speeches and were very well received, but the cap of the evening came from Nikki Giovanni, who is a professor at Virginia Tech. She ended strongly:
"We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid. We are better than we think, not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imagination and the possibility we will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears, through all this sadness. We are the Hokies! We will prevail, We will prevail! We are Virginia Tech!"
The crowd absolutely exploded. Chants in the stands reminiscent of Saturday football games echoed back and forth. All of the other speakers allowed us to be with our personal thoughts and mourn, but she allowed us to come together and act as the strong family we always were. I think we all left with a heightened sense of community. We were all far from closure, but this was a great first step.
The vigil was just a beautiful gathering and on any other occasion I would have been thrilled to be a part of it. This was the first time I had seen a few of my friends after they had been informed of close friends' demises, so things are obviously starting to get pretty heavy. Again, no one close to me was injured. The organizers didn't speak for long, really only inviting us to stay as long as we wanted. A few minutes passed and people began singing "Amazing Grace". That song chokes me up during commercials so at this point I'm trying divert my thoughts elsewhere, which is hard to do when all it's all you've heard for the past two days. The National Anthem was sung, a few more school-oriented chants, and then a communal exhale. Pretty much everyone stayed for a little while longer and then began combing through the crowd looking for friends. I left shortly thereafter because my thoughts were really starting to bite at me and, frankly, it was the longest and most trying day of my life, although I'm sure longer ones await.
The vigil was indeed extraordinary, the way this community came together was something truly beautiful to see. I, along with many others, will never know quite how it felt to be there, but I can say that everyone in this Country, truly is a HOKIE today. And I have never been more proud to say that I am a Hokie. R.I.P. to all those who lost their lives for something so mundane and senseless as this act was.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
No one will ever forget the "32".