This I Believe

Karen - Forty Fort, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 19, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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This I believe………

When I walked onto the Virginia Tech campus for the first time my life was changed forever. It affected my soul.

In July 1985 my parents and I drove from northern Pennsylvania to Blacksburg to visit a school I was possibly interested in attending.

They were unimpressed with the long drive and felt before we even touched the town that it was too far away for their daughter to go to attend college.

When entering campus my first memory was a topiary VT made out of hedges, beautiful lush green fields and the most beautiful ‘hokie stone’ covering the buildings. It was love at first sight.

I knew from that moment on that I HAD to attend Virginia Tech. I applied early decision in November 1985 and was notified December 21st that I had been accepted. My parents begged me to apply at least one other place but I did not. I just knew. We sent in my deposit and I was the happiest senior I knew!

I graduated in June 1986 and went to an orientation weekend in July and then started college in Blacksburg in September.

In my first few minutes in my dorm, Main Eggleston, I met Liz, she lived directly across the hall. We were immediate friends and this friendship has transformed any previous idea of friendship I had. She is my confidante, my sister, my support, she was my maid of honor and my children’s godmother.

My four years spent at this beautiful university were four of the happiest years of my life. I have been lucky enough to travel to many places around the world and the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets are in Blacksburg. In my opinion the most beautiful place I have found on the planet is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mts… Blacksburg. Although I visit frequently I hope at some point to return for good to satisfy my soul.

I received a B.S. in Biology from VT and then went on to get my M.S. in Forest Ecology and now I am a teacher. I have witnessed this very soul changing experience in students that I have taught. They have visited Blacksburg and have returned, changed, knowing that is where they belong. As their teacher it is wonderful to then see them when I visit Blacksburg.

Sadly, on April 16th a mad man in a short few hours took the serene peaceful beauty of Blacksburg and turned it into a warzone. I am unable to comprehend these actions. The victims of this horrific event loved this beautiful university. Although I do not have any personal connection to them they are part of my Hokie Family. They have been stolen from us and the global community has been robbed. The faculty, staff, alumni and students of this magnificent place live and die by Virginia Tech’s Motto – Ut Prosim – that we may serve. This we know by the stories of heroism regarding this horrific event.

A madman stole from the Hokie Nation our idea of serenity, peacefulness and community. He cast a dark cloud over our magnificent home….but that cloud shall dissipate and the sun will slowly creep back in. We won’t forget this and will mark this day as sacred because our brothers and sisters were stolen from us – but we are still the same place that 22 years ago made my heart sing and filled my soul up.

This I believe – through this darkness a brighter light will shine. The inherent good in people is sometimes blocked out by the extreme evil in just a few. It makes us question our world, our God, our future…..but clarity will return and we are acutely made aware of just how special our community really is.