The Ides of April


The Ides of April


Waco, TX. Oklahoma City, OK. Columbine, CO. Blacksburg, VA.

Fifteen years ago, a person could have looked at those four cities and wondered why they have been grouped together. None of these places had anything in common. Most people might not even have heard of three of those cities, save for people that live in those states.

April 19, 1993. April 19, 1995. April 20, 1999. April 16, 2007.

Fifteen years ago, a person could have looked at those four dates and wondered why they have been grouped together. None of these dates could have possibly had any future significance, save for the fact that they would all occur within the same calendar week.

Fifteen years. Such a small window in the grand scheme of things we call time.

Julius Caesar was told by the Soothsayer to "Beware the Ides of March." Perhaps the third week in this month should be called the "Ides of April." All four tragedies have occurred within the same calendar week, the third week of April.

These events helped shape - or scar - today's society. To be sitting here, writing about the worst shooting in United States history, is almost surreal. It goes along with events like the Kennedy assassination, the Challenger space shuttle, and September 11th. People will ask you years from now, "Where were you that day?" Almost regrettably, my answer will be, "Across the street from West AJ."

I remember sitting in my dorm room my senior year in college, waking up to see that the World Trade Center had fallen and the Pentagon had been stuck by terrorists. I recall the sense of anger, so much so that my hands were shaking. A sense of utter disbelief ran wild through my head for days as I sat glued to the television newscasts. I felt a need for vengeance, a need for retribution. Our troops took care of that for us, and are still fighting nearly six years later.

As I sat through today's event in Blacksburg, all I could think of was that this is how the story ends. There will be no revenge, no retribution, no release from our anger. All that is left after today is the memory of 32 of Virginia Tech's finest students, staff, and faculty that came to class today to find a way to make tomorrow better. Instead, tomorrow we will grieve their loss and ask the Lord to help guide them to their final resting place in Hokie Heaven.

It's hard to put arms around the situation, almost impossible to feel the gravity of the situation at the time being. As time passes, wounds will get worse before they get better. Pain will work its way deep into our hearts before it can be lifted. The Virginia Tech motto, Ut Prosim, translates to, "That I may serve." May we all serve the families that have suffered such a great loss by keeping them in our hearts, our minds, and our prayers.

God Bless


Landon Owen




Landon Owen





Landon Owen, “The Ides of April,” The April 16 Archive, accessed September 20, 2017,