Friday, April 20, 2007

Day of Mourning

Actually, it's been a whole week of mourning, but today was the Governor's officially declared Day of Mourning. I debated as to whether to go down to Monroe Park and attend the service there, but opted to watch it on television, instead.

I've wept all week as I watch the news accounts, was angry after NBC's aired that lunatic's rantings, and was then proud of our local NBC station for agreeing not to show his picture anymore. Like everyone else, I'd much rather focus on the 32 victims, the survivors, their families, and the suffering folks at Virginia Tech who have ties and connections all over the Commonwealth.

The Richmond area has lost two shining Tech students, and I know of at least two other Richmonders who were wounded but are recovering, and I'm so grateful for that. One of the survivors is the daughter son of the President of the Christian Children's Fund, based here in town. Another is the daughter of a girl with whom I went to high school.

Another high school friend who now works in Tech's vet school was shown weeping on television Tuesday, during the Convocation. She's since received a flood of emails and phone calls, expressing love and concern. She wrote us back, saying:

...Prior to my position at the Vet College, I was the Director of Undergraduate Recruiting for the College of Engineering. Norris Hall was a fixture in my life. I’ve also taught for VT, so from a faculty perspective, I now think back on what would have been my own reaction to all that happened that morning to protect my students.

...These are just some of the emotions that the last few days have brought to mind. Your thoughts mean more to me than this note can possibly share. Thank you for taking the time to share them. As the week progresses, the reality of everything continues to find new ways to hit home. We have all tried so hard to be strong for one another on campus that our ability to let what happened sink in personally has been the hardest. That’s where your personal thoughts, prayers, and love have meant the most. You’ve given me what I have spent the week trying to give to students, colleagues, and friends who have endured Monday’s tragedies at a variety of levels.

... I speak for all Virginia Tech alumni, students, faculty/staff and friends when I say that your words and thoughts HAVE made a difference....

I find encouragement in her words, and in seeing people of different races, faiths and cultures uniting together to share their grief and comfort. I'm so proud of the students I've seen interviewed, proud of their poise through all of the madness and sadness. I take joy and comfort in learning about the wonderful lives of each of those 32 beautiful people. I dread and loathe the copycat activities, but am thankful that at least everyone's awareness level has been significantly heightened, so that perhaps future tragedies might be averted. I pray for the victims families, and hold out hope that this incident might help change some laws, in this state and this country, to help prevent future tragedies.

God Bless Virginia Tech.


Patsy said...

Mary, I so appreciated your blog today. We have all been in a state of emotion and disbelief this week...tears flowing and gratefulness that our children were safe. Both my brother and husband are grads of VT. This morning when I tied the 6 footer orange and maroon scarf that my brother had given me 50 years ago, to the mailbox post, I felt very proud of the kids, admin, faculty and others there. May God bless us all in this grieving time.

Margaret said...

Well said. Thank you.

Nikki said...

Very well written post, Mary. I think I've gone through the same emotions.

I heard our local news man say there's healing in numbers and I have to agree. Seeing so many people in Orange and Maroon today and wearing it myself, helped.

Today, we ARE all Hokies!

Robin said...

AMEN!! I agree with you COMPLETELY!!

IndigoMuse said...

Beautiful sentiments, Mary. And I love that you're commissioning Scout to make a Hokie yarn. Can't wait to see how it turns out. You know I'll have to have some. Keep me posted.


lmilla said...

Thanks for this, Mary. It's been a rough time since the shootings - so eerie and wrong. God Bless,