Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day Sixteen - Rememberance

Time heals most wounds, but it leaves a sliver of what existed before the pain. Tragedies come in all shapes and sizes, impacting individuals and whole nations worldwide, regardless of class, race, religion, and any other classification you can produce. No one survives a tragedy unscathed; all of us with some connection---even a thin, seemingly minor connection---are left to cope with the silence of lost voices, the vibrant lives so abruptly and unfairly taken from us. It doesn't help to wonder what could have been and there's only little comfort in remembering what was. The only positive we can take from tragedy is the rising triumph of the human spirit. Together, we acknowledge our sorrow and pain, but we also acknowledge the selfless strength of character our community possesses. Why am I offering this treatise on rememberance and tragedy? Because four years ago today a horrific tragedy occurred at Virginia Tech, my beloved alma mater, my favorite place on this planet, and the community that I most identify with. Today, I'm remembering the 32 lives that were taken violently and senselessly from our community and our world. I'm also remembering the triumph of the human spirit that circulated amongst us Hokies and all who joined us in support and prayer.

Here's a reposting of Dr. Giovanni's galvanizing chant poem that still shatters, then builds me back up every time I read or hear it.


We Are Virginia Tech. We are sad today and we will be sad for quite a while…We are not moving on. We are embracing our mourning. We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly. We are brave enough to bend to cry. And sad enoughto know we must laugh again. We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it. But neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS. Neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community be devastated for ivory. Neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water. Neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy. We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open hearts and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid. We are better than we think, and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imagination and the possibilities.

We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears, through all this sadness. We are the Hokies!

We will …prevail! We will prevail! We will prevail! WE ARE VIRGINIA TECH!

---Nikki Giovanni

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