One Hokie


One Hokie


It's scary really, when you're truly thankful for your life and the well being of the ones you love every single day, yet you still slip up and take all of that for granted for just one second. It happens to all of us; sometimes we just get caught up during the hectic grind of life and forget all the wonderful things we are, except for that moment, gratified to have. And in that second, when an occurrence takes you and suddenly you realize this terrible, tragic error-the world stops. The thing that makes this unbearably painful though is that for everyone else, life keeps moving forward, and you now suddenly have so much to say and do about what WAS, it becomes impossible to catch up and cope with what IS.

I know my final exam reflection has a suggested word count of 800 words; I am however, not going to make that requirement in hopes that you will understand why...

I, like thousands of other Virginia Tech students, have had an experience of the events that occurred on April 16, 2007. My experience was a fortunate one because of the fact that I did not lose a loved one on that day. Of course, I felt a lot of emotions that day, starting with anger. The following day, I attended the ceremony at Lane Stadium, and like many of us Hokies, my thoughts were temporarily distracted by all the media sharks looking to record peoples pain for money. I was selected out of a group to talk to a man because he wanted to put me on T.V. with Katie Couric, I declined. Blacksburg was so strangely unwelcoming and depressing to me after that ceremony because many people had left and the only people who remained were locals obviously shocked with tragedy or media who seemed to not care. I had to get out because everything was so surreal it was slowly eating me from inside every time I tried to grasp the full weight of what had happened. When I returned for classes, I don't know if it was just me but I felt like the entire campus was dead silent for the entire day. My anger was finally replaced with sorrow, I was glad because until then, I had only been able to feel a rage towards what happened at MY school. I had to pay my respects for those 32 souls that would have continued to make this world a brighter place had they been given a chance to do so. I don't do it often, but I cried as I stood there in front of those memorials thinking about how easily that could have happened to somebody I knew and loved.
During this entire time I have been feeling guilty, I felt guilty crying in front of those memorials and I am almost afraid that some day I will not be able to contain it. I turned down that interview for the same reason I won't let myself share every single thing that happened to me with all of this...Who am I to cry? Who am I to even talk about it? I didn't lose anybody during this terrible misfortune. Sure, I have lost loved ones without being able to say goodbye, but it didn't happen April 16th, and it didn't happen like that so who am I to try to empathize and compare my sorrows? Who am I to try to imagine what those Moms, Dads, Sisters, Brothers and friends feel like right now? The question asked to me from the reporter was, "Did I know anybody or do I know anyone that knew someone who was lost?" I didn't, I tried talking about the many people I knew who soon had funerals to attend to but no sooner than I let those words leave my mouth did I realize that I was a nobody in all of this. I am just a friend who wants to lend a hand and be there for other friends that need it right now. Although I have always desperately wanted to be on T.V. if even for a second, I said to myself, "Not right now, not like this, this isn't for me to say" then I walked away to show support and blended into a large crowd of orange and maroon, like all of my other fellow Hokies.
-Jacob Lee Stowers


Jacob Stowers




Jacob Stowers





Jacob Stowers, “One Hokie,” The April 16 Archive, accessed August 20, 2017,