Emotional students at the University of Virginia send messages to their friends at Virginia Tech
April 17, 2007
The Virginia Tech tragedy hit close to home for me and many of my friends. I didn’t go to Virginia Tech, but I grew up in an area where lots of people did. Many of the victims of yesterday’s attack came from Northern Virginia, and at least one of them went to my high school. Mary Read performed in the color guard at Annandale High School, and I was the captain of that very same color guard years ago. My friends and their friends know people who were hurt or died, and the whole experience has been a shock to our community.
My brother and I both went to the University of Virginia, which likes to think of itself as the big rival to Virginia Tech. UVA and Tech love to hate each other, but the truth is that we are more like brothers; you and your brother can bicker all you like, but if he was ever in trouble, you’d be the first one by his side. Almost everyone at UVA has a close friend or family member at Virginia Tech. Both my brother and I had high school best friends at Virginia Tech. My friend, Heather, even lived in West AJ dorm our freshman year. Lots of people from my high school went there, and some of my best friends today are Tech alumni.
When the shootings occurred yesterday, I immediately wanted to drive down to Blacksburg to take photographs. I realized, of course, that the entire world had already descended upon little Blacksburg, and the last thing they needed was yet another photographer wandering around. I decided to do the next best thing — go to UVA and see how my fellow Wahoos were reacting to the tragedy.
Today many UVA students and faculty were wearing Virginia Tech’s colors of maroon and orange. VT flags were flying where UVA flags normally would be. Thousands of people gathered at night for a candlelight vigil in support of their friends at Virginia Tech. I learned today that rivalry disappears when people you know and love are hurting. I’m so glad I was there to see it all.
Tri-Delt house, flying a VT flag
UVA repainted this secret society “Z” orange and maroon.
Students were passing out orange and maroon ribbons.
Students gathering for the vigil
Passing out ribbons
Thousands of people were there.
Lighting each other’s candles, with a handful of cash to donate to the victims’ families
The Virginia Belles, singing “More Than Words”