Monday, October 26, 2015

Remembering the Dead

Last week, we were in Blacksburg and we stopped by Virginia Tech. I had never been on campus even though it is only a little over an hour away. We did not have time for a full tour but I wanted to see the April 16, 2007 Memorial.

On that day, 32 Hokies died at the hands of a mass murderer, who then took his own life. Twenty-seven were students; five were instructors. Seventeen other people were physically wounded. Countless others were mentally harmed.

Following the massacre, students placed 32 Hokie Stones on the Drillfield at the campus. (Hokie Stones are the gray colored stones from which most of the university buildings are constructed.) Later the university dedicated 32 engraved Hokie Stones to honor the memory of those lost in this horrible tragedy. Each stone weighs 300 lbs. A single stone in the center of the memorial honors all the fallen and injured victims.

An overview of the memorial.
Each stone has a name engraved upon it.
Of all the things I saw during our visit, this sight broke my heart. As we were paying our respects, this gentleman came by. He touched particular stones as he moved around the semi-circle. As he passed us, he murmured, "Those are the ones I knew," and he continued his way around, touching various stones. Tears welled in my eyes as I watched him. I wonder how often this man, whom I suspect is an instructor at the university, performs this sacred ritual.

A closer look. I tried to make sure I captured all the stones.
The memorial is a somber reflection despite the activity going on around it.
A nice touch.

On April 16, 2007, we all were Virginia Tech.


  1. I am SO tired of shootings at our university campuses, high schools, grade schools, military bases, movie theaters, malls.... Why it is that mentally ill people have chosen to take so many innocents with them to their deaths is so incomprehensible. I think that families need to take better care of their mentally ill family members AND do whatever it takes to keep guns out of their hands. AND the NRA needs to stop buying off our politicians or take full responsibility for supplying the funds necessary to care for the mentally ill. Laws need to change as well as peoples' attitudes towards guns. Limit the number of guns that can be in a home. I'm just so weary of all the damage that guns in the hands of sick people does.

  2. So very hard to understand why events like this happen. A fitting memorial.

  3. A sad but moving memorial (and individual ritual) -- and you're right, it's sad that it even exists.


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