5 years later

I remember this day, 5 years ago, like it was yesterday.  I skipped my class that morning, and I was woken up by my cell phone ringing. It was my grandmother calling to make sure I was alive (literally).  I had no idea what had happened.  The first incident happened in my dorm, a few floors down. and she had recognized the name of the dorm.  She woke me up about 9:15, which was about half an hour or so before the second incident happened across campus.

My mom had tried to call too.  Except when she tried to call, the cell phone servers were beginning to get jammed, and she had trouble getting through.  But she did.  She was a basket case, which was to be expected.

My roommate, being a good student, went to class that morning, and I had trouble getting through to her, as well.  She was walking in front of Norris Hall, and heard some of the shots.  I never got through to her cell phone, and was freaking out until she was finally able to make it to the dorm about 11 or so.

Both my roommate and I had decided to go home for the night, to give our parents some satisfaction. We ended up having to walk to the Inn at VT to meet our parents.  I remember hearing someones parents crying down the hall, probably after getting the news no parent would want to get.  I remember the look on my moms face when she got there.  A look I will never forget.  I tear up everytime I think about it, just like I'm doing now.

I'll always remember the out pour of support from dog people that called to check on me.  I remember calling one person and I could tell she was fighting back the tears.  Small things like that are going to always stick with me, I think.

I found out later that night that one of my good friends was one of the lives lost.  I had almost every class with her, as we were in the same major at the time.  Around 1 am the next morning, my cell phone woke me up to a number I didn't know, so I didn't answer.  I check the voicemail, and it was Good Morning America wanting to talk.  Apparently they had somehow found out I was friends with Emily, and wanted to interview me.  Reall?  Screw you media.  The next thing happened the next day.  A news station had called my dorm phone, and wanted an interview. 

When I got back to campus the next morning, the media was crazy.  You couldn't turn around without seeing someone from the media (national and local).

I'll never forget how everyone came together, being a Hokie or not.  The out pour of support for the university and community couldn't be topped, I don't think.

"We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech."

-Nikki Giovanni

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