- Posted on: 15 April 2008
- By: Jamie Tworkowski
It is enormously late. 2:21 am, according to the clock in this Iowa hotel room. Chris (the amazing intern) is asleep, so i shall do my best to type quietly...
Wanted to apologize as i had been planning to write something for the one-year anniversary of the lives lost at Virginia Tech... didn't realize until about an hour ago that today was the day. The last couple weeks have been hugely busy - feels like i've been living in airports and airplanes - lots of good stuff, but it's easy to get lost in the travel as well. i can't remember the last time i turned on a television... So i completely missed it and just wanted to take a moment to say it matters.
It matters because people matter, and hundreds of people were affected by what happened a year ago. Thousands more sat by our televisions, shocked by the news... The ones who died were sons and daughters, best friends and brothers and neighbors. They would be mothers and husbands. They would be so many things. They were people with stories, and we would hope for them what we hope for ourselves, that we are early in these stories, that the best is yet to come. It matters also because it rocked what we understood about safety and freedom. It matters because we saw a picture of evil and a picture of pain. We saw the power of choice and the danger of pain unchecked. Perhaps the shots fired came from a man who lost himself in his pain, and a man who felt alone. He gave up on his own story, and he stole the endings of stories never his to steal.
He's gone now, and they're gone now, and we're here with all our things: our questions, our classes, our country... It was said "Today, we're all Hokies", and i like that. Something feels true in those words, the possibility that the world can be small and we can be one in this. We can pause to remember the lives lost a year ago, but perhaps even more to say we know those stories don't end there. We know those stories twist and touch a thousand other stories - family and friends and classmates and teachers... Our thoughts and prayers are for them as well today, them and us with air still to breathe, questions still to wrestle, dreams still to chase.
Maybe the best thing we can do to remember Virginia Tech, to say those stories mattered, is to believe that our own stories matter. Today and tonight and tomorrow. That life is worth living, that we will run from neither fear nor dreams - we will learn to stare back at both. We will say we're not alone. We will say we need other people, and we will say there are people who need us. We will say community is essential, that we were meant to be better than alone. We were meant to be known.
Tonight we pause to remember. Stories that ended too soon, our own still off and running. And the possibility that the world can be small, that we're part of something bigger, all in this thing together.
To Virginia Tech and all the friends and family affected by the tragedy of one year ago: We are sorry beyond words. We can't begin to imagine. If a sentence ever could matter, we pray this might be one: We are with you.
Your story is important.
Peace to you tonight.