Title: April 16th: Virginia Tech Remembers
First Published: August 2007
Publisher: Plume Books
On the flap
Monday, April 16, 2007 started like any other Monday at Virginia Tech,
with professors and students preparing for another busy week of classes.
However, word quickly circulated of a shooting in the dorms - and the
gunman was still loose. The campus went into lockdown, and as the
gruesome events unfolded in Norris Hall, a group of journalism students
trapped in a nearby building transmitted stories and updates to the
student-run website, PlanetBlacksburg.com.
Now, these students,
together with their journalism instructor and members of the Virginia
Tech community, have documented the events of that day. April 16th:
Virginia Tech Remembers gives a voice to the students, faculty, and
staff who lived through the shooting, and serves as a memorial for the
32 victims. The book also describes the onslaught of media coverage that
immediately followed, and reveals the remarkable resilience of the
students of Virginia Tech throughout the entire ordeal.
You will notice that I do not mention any author for this book. If you look at the book cover, there is no author mentioned. This book was edited by Roland Lazenby, a faculty member at Virginia Tech's Department of Communication based on several eye-witness accounts and interviews. A few students from his media writing class were also involved in gathering news of the tragedy as it unfolded, and this book is compiled from those new items as well.
April 16th: Virginia Tech Remembers is a record of the events of that tragic day when Seung-Hui Cho killed 27 students and 5 faculty members. It is not a book analyzing the right and wrong decisions that were taken on that fateful day. For that I am thankful. A lot has been said and publicized about this event that this shooting requires no introduction. I won't be bringing up that event in this post, but only what I thought about this book. For those of you interested in knowing what happened, check out some of these archives.
The start is very powerful. There were so many parts that were very hard to read. By now, I already knew the names of most of the victims and survivors. Hence, reading wasn't easy. But amidst the deaths, there were several stories of heroism and courage - in how Holocaust survivor, Liviu Librescu persuaded his students to escape while he barricaded the door; in how Kevin Granata decided to go downstairs and try to prevent the shootings; in how the students of some classes held the door closed to prevent the shooter entry; in how they helped their classmates through the terror that lasted just 10 minutes but felt like a lifetime; in how they tried to stop themselves and their friends from bleeding to death through their injuries.
Today, we have a Day of Remembrance at our campus. There is a 3.2 mile run in Remembrance and a candlelight vigil, in addition to a few other events too.