16 April 2007 by Published in: General musings 8 comments

While working away at my desk this morning, I learned of the senseless tragedy at Virginia Tech University. Nearly 25 years ago, when I was still an undergrad, I spent a weekend at Virginia Tech that was one of the most fun weekends of my life. Consequently, I’ve always had very fond memories of the place. Today’s news was shocking, to say the very least. That this sort of thing continues to happen is nearly incomprehensible to me. My friend Tom Perry is a Virginia Tech alum, as is fellow blogger and regular reader Ken Noe. I can’t imagine what they must be feeling tonight knowing that something like this happened at their alma mater.

Susan and I have an old friend named Melissa Delcour. Some of you may know Melissa. She is a high school teacher in Virginia who has worked as a staff historian at the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania battlefield park. This evening, we got an e-mail from Melissa indicating that one of her former students, a lovely young woman named Emily, who graduated from high school last spring and was wrapping up her freshman year at Virginia Tech, was one of the casualties today, struck down in the flower of youth. Hearing that–being able to put a human face on this senseless tragedy–makes it all the more real and all the more personal.

My heart goes out to Emily, her family, the rest of the victims, their families, and everyone else whose life was touched by today’s events. We can only hope that nothing like this will ever happen again, although I fear it will.

Scridb filter


  1. Steve Basic
    Mon 16th Apr 2007 at 11:29 pm


    Much like you did, I made a road trip to VA Tech when I was still at Ohio University. My roommates younger brother was a freshman there and we went for a visit and took in a football game that weekend. It’s a fine place and full of fine people, and it’s hard to believe that this could happen there. Then again, I guess it can happen anywhere, and as you mentioned it will happen somewhere else, again.

    Regards from the Garden State,


  2. Tue 17th Apr 2007 at 8:31 am


    Wow. I am sorry to hear that a young lady was one of the victims. I have never understood why these events happen.


  3. Art Bergeron
    Tue 17th Apr 2007 at 8:54 am

    This certainly was a real tragedy. The dorm where the shootings began was named for the late Ambler Johnston. He was a long-time member of the Richmond Civil War Round Table and had worked with Douglas Southall Freeman in placing tablets at a number of Civil War sites in the Richmond area.

  4. Tue 17th Apr 2007 at 10:07 am


    Thanks for thinking of us. It’s very hard right now, very hard indeed. I grew up near Blacksburg, went to a small college nearby hopefully to play football, but came back for my masters. I know it’s an old 1970s cliche but I “found myself” at Tech. Ever since, the Drill Field has been the center of my universe. Hard to see it abused so yesterday. but in the next few weeks the world is going to find out what the Hokie Nation is all about. The dignified way our kids have dealt with the media is only a precursor.



  5. Cash
    Tue 17th Apr 2007 at 11:38 am


    Truly a senseless tragedy, especially since it happened in one of the most beautiful, peaceful, and safest campuses around. If it can happen at Tech, it can happen anywhere. This tragedy especially hit home with me. Not only are both my wife and I Hokies, but our son and our daughter are both there. Thankfully, they are okay, and they got hold of us fairly early on so we barely had time to worry. My son is a computer science major and has classes in Norris Hall. His 9AM class yesterday had been canceled, so he wasn’t at the building when the shootings happened.


  6. Meg Gross
    Tue 17th Apr 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Eric,

    I apologize for writing this here, but I could not find a link to your e-mail address.

    I am trying to find a Civil War historian to give a little talk to a small group of homeschoolers and their parents in the Central Ohio area. They are mostly boys between the ages of 7-12. I am looking for a very engaging speaker who is a GREAT storyteller. (Stories are how these kids learn best.) The content would have to be geared toward the interests of these young, elementary age children.

    If you (or someone you know) would be interested in speaking to us, please e-mail me at the above e-mail address.


  7. Tue 17th Apr 2007 at 7:45 pm


    I’m really glad to hear that your two are both okay. Keep them close.


  8. Tue 17th Apr 2007 at 7:46 pm


    The Hokie Nation has every reason to be proud of how its students have handled such a horrible situation, with grace, dignity, and courage. You should be proud of them.


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