Home. Family. Heritage. My life. These are the words that come to mind when I think of Virginia.
This has been a ghastly week for all of us. Whether or not you have a visceral connection to Virginia Tech as I do, the shock, the outrage, the emotion, is felt by all of us. I refrained from blogging the past few days because I just couldn't bring myself to say anything. Where do you find the words?
I grew up with Virginia Tech as a part of my life. My uncle (who is like an older brother to me) graduated from there when I was three. I cannot tell you the journeys we made to Blacksburg when I was a kid. It's one of the most beautiful parts of the state. And to now, have this horror associated with it, is devastating.
It's less than six degrees of separation when you live in Northern Virginia. There are a handful of schools where you go to if you stay in state: Tech, VCU, UVA, James Madison U (my alma mater), Radford, William and Mary. You know people at all of them. That's degree one. You have friends who have friends there. That's degree number two. Or your parents have friends who now have children there. My uncle, knows of at least two killed within two degrees of separation. That's just how it is when you live there.
Tech was not on my list of applications when I went to college. The distance away left over from my child's mind was too far. I didn't want to be in engineering or farming. And to be honest, I thought I could do better at the time. Proof of what an eighteen year old knows. I went to Madison, had a great time, had friends at Tech who would visit, and we would visit them. Friendly rivalries. But, at a time like this, we are all Hokies.
Which is why I wanted to share this cartoon with you, because Monday, yesterday, today, and for a long time to come, we will all be Hokies.
And one last thing, please, please, please, let us all focus on what's important here, the people who lost their lives, their kindness, their compassion, what they brought to the world. Because if we focus on the person responsible, we give him what he wants and we take justice away from those lives he has changed forever.