In memoriam - Virginia Tech

Saturday, April 16, 2011


We Remember
Today's the fourth anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting. Even though it's been a while now, I never quite get to shake away the realization of how tragic it was. There's a memorial event planned at Tech today - though I'm sad I won't be able to attend in person, I will certainly be thinking of those who died that day. The last two memorial events were very sombre affairs, as they should be. Even though I personally knew none of them who suffered that day (both the victims and the survivors), it was still hard to squash the feeling of sadness that enveloped me both at the morning remembrance event and the candlelight vigil in the evening.

Something that has disturbed me so much (something I never wanted to write down but think it's important) was how when someone asks me which school I went to and I say Virginia Tech, the first remark I get back, most of the time with a smirk, is "Oh that's where the shooting happened". I'm guessing many others have got back the same response too. I must have missed the point when this shooting transformed from a massacre to a joking matter. Or I must be too thick that I can't even smile to that.

At VT now, there are more students who weren't there when the shooting happened than who were. That doesn't make the date any less emotional for most. Everyday, any student or teacher passing by the campus is reminded of the event by the memorial set up in front of Buruss Hall. A few weeks back, when I visited Tech with my family, I was again struck by how senseless it was, and how many lives were lost.

April 16 memorial

Last year, I read April 16th: Virginia Tech Remembers, a narrative account of the events that happened as they unfolded on the day, compiled from various eyewitness accounts by Roland Lazenby, a VT faculty member. The events felt too real for me and the book did a great job of constructing the day. I certainly recommend this book if you wish to know more about how the tragedy unfolded. You can also check this link on the VT website for more information on the victims and the memorial events.

14 comments:

bermudaonion (Kathy) said...

I've already shed tears about this today - April 16, 2007 was such an emotional day for me. When I would tell people that my son went to Tech, the first thing they would ask was if he was there when the shooting occurred. I don't get that so much anymore, thankfully. It was such a tragic day and one of the victims - Lauren Ashley McCain - was in one of my son's classes. I've made it a point to remember her instead of the shooter.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy... said...

Such a tragedy. So many young lives cut too short. Great post.

Athira / Aths said...

I know. It was certainly very tragic.

Athira / Aths said...

It was a very tragic thing to happen. It must have been hard for your son knowing that one of the victims was in his class. I always think of Liviu Librescu when I think of this tragedy. The way he decided to give up his life so that the students could escape! How noble! A holocaust victim that too. Escaped from one senseless terror to die at the hands of another. I can never stop crying over that.

christa @ mental foodie said...

So sad :(

Medeia Sharif said...

I remember how saddened I was when that tragedy happened. I dislike those responses and remarks made towards people who attended the school.

Medeia Sharif said...

Oops, I tried to add an avatar and mistakenly added an image I don't know how to erase.

Bibliophilebythesea said...

It is hard to believe it has been so long already ---very tragic.

hcmurdoch said...

My heart goes out to the families of the victims of this tragedy. We all hear so much about events such as this in the news and then they are replaced by some other event and we move on. But faculty, alumni, friends and family members don't get to move on. Thinking about you and the University.

Athira / Aths said...

It is. :(

Athira / Aths said...

It sure is. I doubt this is something going to be easily forgotten.

Athira / Aths said...

I feel irate when I hear such responses. I understand that people are curious and for the most part, I'm ok with that. But it's when people act like it's all a joke and happens only in some places when I get angry.

Athira / Aths said...

Umm.. I can't edit it either, but you might be able to see an "Edit" button? If not, I believe creating a Disqus profile or logging into yours if you already have one might halp. I'm sorry about that. :(

Athira / Aths said...

I know. It's such a daily part of everyone in the University, whether or not you were there initially. I remember following the news when it happened, but at that time, I never once imagined that I will be going back to the same university. And suddenly, the whole shooting just became personal.