Today We Are All Hokies

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Today We Are All Hokies

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Wednesday, April 18. 2007

The blog has not been on my mind these past few days. My son is a senior at Virginia Tech. He's OK. We have spent most of the past two days staying in touch with him and answering phone calls and emails from friends and family.

I watched the coverage knowing he was safe, and saw his freshman dormitory as the site of the first shooting, and his main classroom building as the site of the others. I've walked that campus, gone to football games, chanted Hokie chants, been in those buildings, and still I can't grasp what it must be to be that community.

He called his mom as soon as he knew about the first shootings. He had a class in Norris Hall at 10:30 and planned to be there at 9:30 to work on his senior project. Professor Kevin Granata was their project adviser in the Engineering Science and Mechanics department. Their research is in muscle and reflex response and robotics. Dr. Granata is one of the top biomechanics researchers in the country and is known for his work on movement dynamics in cerebral palsy.

If he had gone in as planned, he would have been exactly at the wrong place at the wrong time. Dr. Granata was one of the thirty in Norris Hall that was killed.

I've been on the Tech campus a number of times, gone to a Hokie football game and have a sense of this spirit you hear students and staff talk about on the news. But I don't think we can understand it in the way that they do.

The students and staff I saw on the news all served Tech well. The professors who were killed all died trying to protect their students in some way. They serve our profession well.

I listened to poet Nikki Giovanni at the Convocation read "<a href="http://americaabroad.tpmcafe.com/blog/oldengoldendecoy/2007/apr/17/nikki_giovanni_we_are_virginia_tech">We Are Virginia Tech</a>" and thought that some listeners must have thought it odd for a poet to talk about "We are Hokies." I would have thought the same before my son started Tech. I associated Hokies with sports, especially football, and the overwhelming volume of fans at the stadium. But it is more than that. When the students chanted "Let&#39;s Go Hokies" or just the word Hokie, that too must have seemed odd, perhaps irreverent, to some given the circumstances. It absolutely was not that.

I work on a college campus and know that it could happen at any school. I have no wise healing words, no poem of my own, no pointing finger of blame or visionary hindsight.

<i>"We are better than we think,
not quite what we want to be.
We are alive
to the imagination
and the possibility
we will continue
to invent the future
through our blood and tears,
through all this sadness.
We are the Hokies.
We will prevail,
we will prevail.
We are Virginia Tech."</i>

Posted by <a href="http://devel2.njit.edu/serendipity/index.php?/authors/1-Ken-Ronkowitz">Ken Ronkowitz</a> in <a href="http://devel2.njit.edu/serendipity/index.php?/categories/3-About-Us">About Us</a> at <a href="http://devel2.njit.edu/serendipity/index.php?/archives/303-Today-We-Are-All-Hokies.html">07:38</a>

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Original Source: <a href="http://devel2.njit.edu/serendipity/index.php?/archives/303-Today-We-Are-All-Hokies.html">http://devel2.njit.edu/serendipity/index.php?/archives/303-Today-We-Are-All-Hokies.html</a>

Licensed under <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0/">Creative Commons Attribution 1.0</a>.

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Ken Ronkowitz

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2007-06-03

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Brent Jesiek

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eng

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Ken Ronkowitz, "Today We Are All Hokies," in The April 16 Archive, Item #367, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/367 (accessed July 24, 2014).