I took some time this morning to visit the April 16 memorial which is located in front of Burruss Hall.
Today marks the 5th anniversary of the shooting on Virginia Tech's campus.
Five years ago, today, I sat in my English class in Blacksburg High School. It was a normal, cold, April day. In high school you aren't supposed to have your cell phones in class, but no one listens to that rule. A girl, Emma, in my class received a text from one of her friends that there was a shooting at Virginia Tech. Cue the panic. Text after text started flowing in with the number of people dead. Everyone's worst nightmare was unfolding just a mile down the road. We all sat in shock as we were put on lockdown for the remainder of the day. No one knew what to do or say. There was fear for our friends, parents and siblings who were on campus that day.
School was cancelled for the rest of the week as our community tried to comprehend what had just happened and begin to pick up the pieces.
A former Blacksburg High School student, Austin Cloyd, was among the victims. That hit me hard. Her younger brother was in my class and my heart broke for him and his family.
I'll never forget going to the convocation on campus where President Bush came to talk. We didn't make it into Cassell Colesium, but instead sat on the turf in Lane Stadium watching the speeches on the jumbo tron.
There were hugs, tears, and hands to hold wherever you looked.
I'll never forget going to The Concert for Virginia Tech. I am a big Dave Matthews Band fan and I would never in a million years have thought my first time seeing them in concert would be in Lane Stadium or under circumstances such as those influencing the concert.
During that concert, Dave said something that still gives me chills today:
""I must tell you, there is no place I'd rather be in the world than right here with y'all, right now."
It was an extremely emotional concert, from the artists wearing VT shirts, to hearing the "Let's Go" chant as we waited for performers to take the stage. I have the DMB performance on my iPod and I listen to it every once in a while.
I will be forever thankful for the love and support the nation showed us that year, and each year after as we face each anniversary. From the students to the faculty to the community members to the alumni to the families to the Hokie fans everywhere...this day will never be easy, but we will prevail.
We truly are a Hokie Nation. And today, we are ALL Hokies.