April 16th...it used to be just another date on the calendar, but now, at least to me & the rest of Hokie nation, it is a reminder of the worst tragedy to ever hit the campus.
Some of these hours and days have been agony and others triumph. I want to recap my year since that tragic April day last year when I was witness to one of the greatest tragedies in history. This first anniversary is about showing how far we’ve come since we were torn down by tragedy. It’s about remembering why we are all Hokies and how we showed the world we could keep it together and triumph in the face of the greatest adversity.
I won’t recap the events of that day and in the days after. If you would like to read my posts about that, please see (The day, the days following, the week after). My focus for this post is to talk about how I found strength and determination is one of worst situations.
Since that day I have:
- Finished & defended my master’s thesis
- Attained my master’s degree
- Watched many of my students cross the stage at graduation
- Moved to Georgia
- Survived my first semester (almost a year) of my doctoral program
- Found myself once again
- Closed old and opened new chapters in every aspect of my life
- Lived every day
- Lost a love
- Cried myself to sleep many nights
- Laughed till I cried many
- Went through counseling
- Got over my fear whenever I heard a siren
- Watched Northern Illinois University go through our pain
Important lessons learned:
- There were 33 Hokies who lost their lives that day, not just 32
- It’s not about getting back to normal, it’s about moving forward
- The hardest thing about moving forward is not looking back
- Tears can heal
- No one can really understand what we went through
- Hokie Pride stretches far beyond Blacksburg, VA
- The Hokie Pokie is therapeutic
I am grateful for every day and I'm living every day.
Thank you for all of the support, thoughts and prayers, they help me through the bad times.
From an alumni message I received yesterday:
"At the dedication of our permanent April 16th Memorial last August, SGA President Adeel Khan summed it up exceptionally well…
Take time to remember the legacies, remember the dreams and remember the talent that our community has lost. I hope you are inspired to work harder to honor the 32. Share you talents with the world for the 32. Achieve your dreams for the 32. Be more compassionate, friendly and thoughtful for the 32. Be better, for the 32.In 2008, we remember the 32; we are thankful for the survivors; and we are proud we share together that incredible Hokie spirit."