Thank you Deane Bowers for sharing what my daughter witnessed from afar during her time at Virginia Tech, where tragedy hit before she arrived. You’d think this generation would be traumatized. Instead they detach and move on. I hope they read their history, keep souvenirs from the toughest times, heal wounds, do good, and never forget:
As I hug our youngest daughter good bye and send her off to begin her 4th year at The University of Virginia, I reflect on some of the life changing and often horrifying experiences she and her fellow 4th year classmates have experienced while students at UVA. Just to name a few, it was not even a month into their first year, when these brand new, bright eyed, eager students were faced with the brutal abduction, rape and murder of Hannah Graham. A month after that, the Rolling Stone Magazine debacle exploded. Six months later, there was the violent arrest of Martese Johnson by several overzealous ABC agents. And in the winter of 2016, these same college students learned about the violent and unlawful imprisonment of one of their own in North Korea. And just as these students begin to recover from the devastating news of Otto’s cruel death by the worlds most evil dictator, they think they have experienced the worst. Then August 11th and 12th 2017 happens. Their beautiful and sacred Grounds and Rotunda , and their equally attractive college town become center stage to extreme ugliness, hate and racism by hundreds of tiki torch carrying narrow minded white supremacists.
So as I embrace my daughter one last time and wish her a successful school year, I realize how courageous, wise, mature and perceptive she and her fellow 4th year classmates have become. Yes, they have had their share of normal college fun, but no, they aren’t frivolous, self centered and self absorbed college kids. They have grown into leaders and they have shown true grit in the face of one horrific tragedy after another, yet they won’t let any of these life altering events terminally dampen their spirits, define them or define their University. I am certain the University of Virginia, the City of Charlottesville as well as many others can depend on them for their strength, grace, compassion, leadership, and resilience in the months to come. #UVA#Charlottesville #LoveRules #4thYearClass #Leaders