Almost everyone who knows me knows that I went to Virginia Tech. What most people don’t realize is that I was a student there on April 16, 2007. Like so many tragedies that are close to our heart, this day will always be a reminder to me of how short and unexpected life can be. Seven years ago to this day, an armed gunman stole the lives of 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech. As a student at the time, I watched the entire campus grieve and come together in way that is unexplainable. I will never forget walking past a woman sitting on a park bench on Main Street with a sign offering “Free Hugs”.
Since this unimaginable tragedy, every year around April 16th, a 3.2 mile remembrance run is held on the campus of Virginia Tech. The run ends at the memorial of the 32 victims in front of Burruss Hall. Prior to the race starting, participants are asked to stand in an order such that they make the shape of VT for a helicopter image. The run this year was held last Saturday. Of the close to 8,000 runners/walkers participating, almost 4,500 were registered as current students.
This says a lot about the student body and alumni. Even though some of the current students were almost too young to remember this event even occurring, they want to be a part of honoring those that were lost. If you have never been to Blacksburg, let me try to give you an image. As you pull off I-81, and drive down 460 (through miles of farm land), you will start to see in the distance the overhead lights of the football stadium. Once you make the right turn onto Southgate Drive, you will see maroon bushes in the formation of a VT. After you turn left to pass the football stadium and start to come up on the dorms you will begin to notice that all of the buildings have this beautiful stone (“Hokie stone”). There are no “skyscrapers”, big malls, or mansions. Everything is simple. No one judges. Everyone is part of one group.
I haven’t been able to run in honor of those lost at this event, but I hope that in the future my growing family will have a chance to be a part of the remembrance run. During my workouts this week, I do plan to take a second to remember those lost and appreciate having the ability to be out enjoying the time that I do I have to do something good for myself.
#hokienation #hokiestrong #neVerforgeT