>Hokies Remember

>Three years ago today, April 16, 2007, at 9:40 a.m. the lives of 32 families and that of Hokies everywhere changed forever. Although I only attended the university for one year, I still consider myself a Hokie. I come from the Roanoke/Salem/Blacksburg area. It’s all interconnected in so many ways, and every year at this time I still remember where I was that terrible day.

When the first news blurb about a shooting appeared late in the morning it just stated there had been a shooting on the campus. At first, there was little information, but as the day wore on, my heart was breaking. It still makes me tear up and my stomach churn when I think about the cell phones ringing that would never be answered or the heroism of a professor who’d escaped the Nazi death camps only to give his life for his students or so many other acts of heroism that day. Heroism not just in saving lives, but the courage of law enforcement entering Norris hall to a scene that I have no doubt will haunt them forever. The courage of those who had to tell 32 individual families that their child was gone.

Then there are the questions of why. Why a mental health system allowed a young man to fall through the cracks, why our system didn’t connect the dots that a disturbed person was buying guns, why the school’s administration seemed mired in bad calls in its assessment of the situation. Even one where some staff called loved ones to stay off campus BEFORE the student population on campus received a text message or email (this is one I can find difficult to forgive).

In the days and weeks that followed there were stories in the Richmond Times Dispatch about the investigation into the incident. Some questions were answered others were not, because some questions just can’t be answered. And that’s probably the hardest thing to accept. There is always a reason for things that happen, but we are often helpless to know the answer why. All I know is that life will never be the same for so many because of that terrible day, and it still breaks my heart. So I honor those who lost their lives that day, I list the 32 here, and to their loved ones, I cannot express my sadness for your continued loss.

• Ross Abdallah Alameddine
• Christopher James Bishop
• Brian Roy Bluhm
• Ryan Christopher Clark
• Austin Michelle Cloyd
• Jocelyne Couture-Nowak
• Kevin P. Granata
• Matthew Gregory Gwaltney
• Caitlin Millar Hammaren
• Jeremy Michael Herbstritt
• Rachael Elizabeth Hill
• Emily Jane Hilscher
• Jarrett Lee Lane
• Matthew Joseph La Porte
• Henry J. Lee
• Liviu Librescu
• G.V. Loganathan
• Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan
• Lauren Ashley McCain
• Daniel Patrick O’Neil
• J. Ortiz-Ortiz
• Minal Hiralal Panchal
• Daniel Alejandro Perez
• Erin Nicole Peterson
• Michael Steven Pohle, Jr.
• Julia Kathleen Pryde
• Mary Karen Read
• Reema Joseph Samaha
• Waleed Mohamed Shaalan
• Leslie Geraldine Sherman
• Maxine Shelly Turner
• Nicole White

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About Monica Burns

A bestselling author of erotic romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.

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