Tuesday, April 17, 2012

living for thirty two

Five years after the unimaginable tragedy of April 16th, 2007, I stand a senior in college, awaiting my graduation from the university that I call home.  While I think of the thirty two lost each of the 365 days of the year, the anniversary inevitably approaches each year with the visible reminders of the lives taken from us too soon.  The Day of Remembrance on campus provides an outlet for members of the community to remember and mourn the losses from this day.

"To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live.  To feel the joy of life...To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day.  To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am.  I am.  That is something to aspire to."  -The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

I came across this quote from a book I read a few years ago, and I think that it summarizes my feelings of remembrance very well.  I carry the heaviness in my heart for the thirty two, and at the same time, I want to carry light into the world to honor them.  I want to be a reminder to others that these Hokies will not be forgotten, and I want to serve others with kindness, acceptance, and understanding.

The reflection that ensues the anniversary of April 16th ignites a passion for life across our campus.  Let us all be reminded that there are no guarantees in life, and we must embrace the people in our lives today.

In quoting a mantra embedded in Virginia Tech tradition,
"For those who have passed, for those to come, reach for excellence."

 My thoughts and prayers remain with the families whose lives will be forever changed by the senseless events of this day.  There are countless hearts that reach out to you in the wake of your loss.