Today We Are All Hokies

UVA Shows Its Support For VT (Courtesy of Facebook)

In colleges across America, students are using Facebook to rally around Virginia Tech, in a show of uniform solidarity not seen since September 11th. The message is clear: No matter what campus you may call home, your heart goes out to those victims and their families in Blacksburg, Virginia.

A description of the group "Hoos Supporting the Hokies?" -- a group started by a graduate of Virginia Tech's archrival, the University of Virginia, summarizes the sentiment felt by just about everyone who has learned about this tragedy: "I know we Hoos may have some issues with our southwestern neighbors, but today we all grieve together. This group is solely to show our support for everyone at Virginia Tech as they struggle to deal with this enormous tragedy. Please join to show our concern for our fellow Virginians and Virginia state students. Even if you aren't a Virginian or didn't go to either of these schools, share your sympathy with those who have suffered. Feel free to invite anyone else who might be concerned to the group."

Students at other longtime sports rivals such as the universities of North Carolina, Florida, LSU, JMU and Michigan have also put aside intercollegiate competition which somehow seem irrelevant in the wake of America's worst school shooting ever. Together they have constructed banners and created groups on Facebook which proudly proclaim that "Today We Are All Hokies".

--Emil Steiner

By Emil Steiner |  April 17, 2007; 3:18 PM ET
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Collegiate rivalries should mean nothing when compared to human life. It's great to see some students embracing that, mankind still has some hope left.

Posted by: sankroh | April 18, 2007 02:09 AM

Today I am proud to be a Hokie!

April 16, 2007

While at work today I had a moment of down time and went to the website to check my e-mail. After signing in I noticed the top news story was "1 dead at school shooting at Virginia Tech". This certainly caught my attention, a school shooting at the college I received my Masters Degree. How could this be happening? The story was vague, only about two paragraphs long but the details certainly showed that someone opened fire and killed someone. I could not get anymore information so I decided to e-mail my father who also is a Tech graduate and should have more news since he lives and works in Virginia.

"Did you see there is a shooting at Va Tech?" I fired off and pushed send.

Within seconds the reply came, "Yes, and they have not found the gunman yet."

A gunman on the loose at a college campus where over 20,000 students are enrolled. How could this be happening? I felt like I was in a trance.

Thirty minutes later the next e-mail from my father appeared. "10 dead, students jumping out windows."

10 dead, how can that be? Why haven't they caught the gunman yet?

Yet, thirty minutes later. "They say he is now shooting in Norris Hall the Engineering Building. More dead."

Throughout the day e-mails kept rolling in from my father who had CNN on at work. "21 dead, and more rushed to the hospital."

As my day went on I kept updating my fellow colleagues on the death toll. They would all shake their heads and say "how sad" and go on about their day. Yet, how could I go on about my day? I felt like 9-11 was happening all over again, but to a place I was very familiar with. The school where I spent two years of my life was now swarming with police officers with assault rifles. As I watched the live feed I was amazed how empty the drill field looked without students. When was the last time it was completely vacant of students, I wondered.

I suddenly realized that the dormitory where the first student was killed was actually the dorm where my first boyfriend at Va. Tech lived. The news had been referring to it by its long name, but all students refer to by the initials AJ. It was one of the largest dorms on campus, how many students was there this morning when the shooting started? How many nights had I spent there in my boyfriends small loft bed? What if we had awoke to gunfire one morning, would we have known what to do? When I was in college, we would have never believed it was real gunfire, we didn't have school shootings back then.

As my day was wrapping up at work the screen flashed from 21 dead to 32. It was being called the deadliest school shooting in United States history. I could not guess how the death toll kept rising when they said they had the shooter in custody hours ago. I would soon learn from my mother that the wind had been so bad that they could not fly any of them to local hospitals; they all had to go in ambulances. Precious time they may not have had.

As I drove home through historic Savannah, I was annoyed by all the tourist with smiling faces roaming the streets. I couldn't help wonder if they even knew, I know I don't turn on the news when I am on vacation. I felt like everyone should be inside glued to the News, praying for the students who attended Virginia Tech. I found myself crying the whole way home praying instead that I did not know any of the 32 dead.

I left work on Monday feeling like I had lost part of myself. I may not have loved every minute of my time spent at Virginia Tech like most alumni but I still had many cherished memories. The college gave me the degree I needed to get the career I have been successful in for over ten years. The school had also graduated my father who went on to successful work for the Federal government and raise a family comfortably in Alexandria, Virginia. The school that educated my best friend from high school, and the man I had loved more then anyone I have ever dated. The school in which half of my graduating class from high school attended, and where I had encouraged numerous high school students to attend in my role as a High School Guidance Counselor. Could any of them be there right now?

Later that night, I turned on the news and heard it was now being described as the Virginia Tech massacre and would be the lead story on 48 hours tomorrow night. How could they have enough information to put together a whole show on something that just happened? My questions will slowly be answered over the course of the next few days and beyond as I will be bombarded with the images over and over of police officer carrying out the wounded, and I know that my University will never be the same. No longer will Virginia Tech be known as the school that starred the greatest Quarterback in years, Michael Vick. Instead, it will be the University with the largest school shooting in history, that is until another one happens.

Posted by: beachcounselor | April 18, 2007 08:47 AM

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