The day I became a Hokie...

We walked across campus that Spring Game. For the handful of football games that I had been to, we parked in a private lot close to the stadium, but this was different. This was the Spring Game, and we decided that we were going to make the trek across campus.

This was something I had never done before at Virginia Tech, so all sense of direction was lost to me. My friends knew which way to go. Happily, I let them lead the way and enjoyed taking in everything my eyes, ears, and skin would allow. Campus was beautiful. The architecture was amazing. Students were happy. If I were once again a teenager searching for a place to go to college, I would have said, "This is it! This is where I am meant to be! I have found my place!" I found myself wondering why I never even had Virginia Tech on my lists of schools to go to.

I was so thoroughly enjoying taking in campus with each step, that I had no idea what was coming. I think we made a turn. Or something. Immediately I knew where we were...

The air turned thick. The building on my left was surrounded with a heavy feeling of sadness. A weight pressed on my shoulders. I knew that this was the building that had experienced such tragedy just one year earlier. We were at Norris Hall. The mood here was somber. The air was still. The sound was silent. I allowed myself to feel the loss that had taken place there. I mourned for the people who had lost their lives. My heart hurt, and I silently cried.

We turned our direction again and walked just a bit away to the memorial for the 32 people who had lost their lives that tragic day. I prayed as I passed each name. I thought of every single person as I studied their names. I thought of their families and friends. When I reached the last I gave one last look at Norris Hall, and the weight on my shoulders lifted.

We continued on and headed to the stadium, and once again, campus was happy. However, my thoughts lingered with what I had just experienced for a few minutes. I did not attend Virginia Tech. In fact, not too many months before that exact moment, I didn't even like Virginia Tech. I would have never thought in five million years that I would ever even want to be a Hokie. Yet, I could not deny what I had just experienced. I knew that right there, in that moment, I became a Hokie. I smiled to myself and rejoined the happiness of the day.

Tomorrow is April 16th. Four years ago, that tragic day forever changed many lives. Tomorrow, I will proudly wear my Hokie colors. I will do something happy in remembrance. I would love it if you would join me. Will you wear maroon or orange (or both!)? For just one day, would you please be a Hokie with me?

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Fun Pusher said...

I'm not sure what I can say that would express how eloquently you've captured the same kinds of feelings I had when we crossed campus that day. That choked up, weighty feeling. All I can say is that you get it - what it is to be a Hokie. You take the good with the bad, and sometimes--though thankfully not often--the bad is just crushing; but you also try to turn things around and know that out of pain, there eventually can be renewal and joy. I'm trying so hard to string these words together in a way that makes sense...but I guess the main thing is yes. Yes, I will be, always and forever, a Hokie. We will prevail.

Kirsten said...

Will wearing my orange Boise State sweatshirt (the only orange I own) count? 'Cuz if so, I will remember with you.

TCSS422 said...

What happened at Virgina Tech was a tragedy and my prayers go out to those affected by the madman who hurt so many.

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