12 years

It’s been 12 years since we lost our fellow Hokies and our community was forever changed. Twelve years sounds like a long time, but the memories are still so vivid, easily bringing back the rawest of emotions.

While it’s easy to focus on the tragedy, many of the memories that stand out from that time are of the ways people served, loved, and supported one another. We banded together as friends and strangers to cope with the events of that day and coming weeks.

In 2007, standing on the Drillfield at the candelight vigil, we listened to the 32 names of those who were lost read aloud. At the end of the night, the most vehement, yet somber, rally of “Let’s Go… HOKIES!” I have ever heard began. That sense of unity and strength was unprecedented.

Today, I ran, cried, and ran some more. I noticed the blossoms on the trees and the morning sun breaking through them, seemingly made more beautiful in contrast to the burning in my heart. I usually try to stay off of social media on this day, but I think it’s important that we remember what happened so we can work toward a better future. Love one another, never forget, and live for 32.