Campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Image online, courtesy Virginia Tech Magazine (Winter, 2007). This campus was the scene of a tragedy on the 16th of April, 2007.
We will continue to invent the future
through our blood and tears
and through all our sadness ...
We will prevail ...
Distinguished Professor of English
Virginia Tech University
Spring was in full bloom that Monday morning. Before 7 a.m., on the 16th of April, 2007, all seemed well at Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Emily Jane Hilscher had just returned to her dorm when, shortly after 7 a.m., an intruder entered. Soon thereafter, she was the first victim of America’s second-worst massacre perpetrated by a single individual. (The worst occurred in 1927, when a lone dynamite-planter killed one-quarter of the children in a Michigan town during the Bath Consolidated School massacre.)
Before the V-Tech horror was over, two people were fatally shot at West Ambler Johnston residence hall while thirty other students and faculty were gunned down at Norris Hall. Seventeen more were wounded, some as they tried to flee.
The story of the Virginia Tech massacre, and the support of VT’s community for each other in its aftermath, is well told on the Hokies’ memorial web site. This is a different story. It celebrates the lives of those who were lost with words written by McMullen County High School students.
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