Two years ago this week, the Hokies tribe experienced a campus tragedy like none other, when a student killed 32 students and faculty members in the middle of the school day. April 16, 2007, was a horrible day.
Whenever anyone asks what my best campus visit was during the yearlong road trip, I always tell them it was Virginia Tech. Though I only had four days, my experience was the most significant of the trip. It was an honor to get to spend those days among that tribe, in no small part because I got to see Ravi Zacharias bring truth and light six months after such a dark day.
(If you’re interested in those experiences and what I learned, those blog posts can be found here.)
This year, the school is once again remembering those who died that day. I encourage you to look at the events taking place for the “Day of Remembrance” on Thursday. For more, see the full “We Remember” page.
And I think we might even be able to watch the events on Thursday at the webcam.
It is a weird truth that presumably over half the students don’t share the experience of the tragedy; I’m sure that causes difficulties at times. Meanwhile, for many years, the adults – college ministers, local pastors, faculty, staff, community members, etc. – will remember this tragedy vividly. And even when all the students on campus at that time have graduated, the campus tribe’s collective memory remains. And it should.
We who love these tribes should remember, too – and pray. Who knows what God might still do to glorify His name? And what comfort and truth are still needed in the lives of individuals, including those still in Blacksburg and those who have left?
Some other prayer thoughts I first posted last year (adjusted for this year):
- …for the freshmen, sophomores, and recent transfers to Va. Tech. How weird to be newcomers to a community that has been shaped so dramatically by this event.
- …for wisdom and balance for both Christian students and their ministers. Knowing how to deal with tragedy, for Christians, is always so hard. You want to be others-focused but need to deal with your own pain, too. You want to recognize what God has done, but mourning and sadness are appropriate right alongside.
- …for celebration among Christians of what God has done in their midst over the last two years.
- …for God to remind students of truths they may have learned in the last two years.
- …for the unity among ministries that sprung out of the tragedy to be even stronger today than it was then.