Although blogs pertaining to the Virginia Tech. incident are ubiquitous, it never hurts to add one more voice to the crowd, especially if the incident is as devastating as this.

By now, everyone has probably heard of the mass-shooting in Blacksburg, Virginia, unless (of course) you live under a rock. Like Rose, the author of another blogsite, I found myself crying after reading the story on the news section of my homepage. I became rather absorbed in the story, surfing the internet trying to find the most recent update on the murderer, the victims, the survivors. One particular story struck the proverbial cord:

Liviu Librescu was born in 1930 to a Jewish family in the city of Ploiesti, Romania. After Romania allied with Nazi Germany in World War II, his father, Isidore Librescu, was deported by the Nazis. Liviu as a boy was interned at a labor camp in Transnistria and later, along with his family and thousands of other Jews, was deported to a ghetto in the city of Focsani. Liviu Librescu survived the Holocaust and was repatriated to communist Romania where he became an accomplished scientist.

At age 76, Librescu was among the thirty-two people who were murdered in the Virginia Tech massacre on April 16, 2007. During April 2007, Librescu taught a solid mechanics class in Room 204 in the Norris Hall Engineering Building. On April 16, Seung-Hui Cho entered Norris Hall and opened fire on classrooms. Librescu held the door of his classroom shut while Cho was attempting to enter it; although he was shot through the door, he was able to prevent the gunman from entering the classroom until most of his students had escaped through the windows. He was struck by five bullets. Of the 23 registered students, one, Minal Panchal, died.

A number of Librescu’s students have called him a hero because of his actions. One student, Asael Arad, said that all the professor’s students “lived because of him.” Another student, Caroline Merrey, said she and about 20 other students scrambled through the windows as Librescu shouted for them to hurry; she said she felt sure his actions helped save lives. Librescu’s son, Joe, said he had received e-mails from several students who said he had saved their lives and regarded him as a hero whilst many newspapers also reported him as the hero of the massacre.

Stories such as this force you to think — If I were in that particular situation, would I have helped those around me? Would I have sacrificed my life in order to save that of strangers I barely knew? Or would I have abandoned them in order to survive? Would I have had the courage to stand up against a mentally ill individual brandished with multiple weapons? Had I died, what would people remember me by? Have I accomplished enough in my lifetime to my satisfaction? Whatever the answer, I felt compelled to attend the candlelight vigil that my university held earlier tonight. Although Virginia Tech is some 1,300 miles away, such an occurrence can hardly be regarded as otherwhere; instead, it induces a feeling of communion, of empathy.

Prior to the ceremony, I was accosted by a reporter from FOX News who barraged me with a plethora of questions: Do you think this vigil will help the healing process of the alumni who are here tonight? Do you think what happened at Virginia Tech is similar to what happened at this university 41 years ago? Has the incident affected you personally in any way? Etc. I answered the questions to the best of my ability, although I’m not sure if I offended anyone by saying “misery loves company or, in this case, grief loves company” infront of a camera that is broadcast through all of Austin. The university bell tower tolled 33 consecutive knells. Speeches were made. Candles were lit and alma maters were sung. An estimatd 2000 UT students attended the memorial.
It was a beautiful and touching hour I will forever remember.