One year later,what does it mean?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 17, 2008

A portion of this speech written by Jim Davis of the Franklin/Southampton Hokie Club, was read at a candlelight vigil last year at Paul D. Camp Community College as a ceremony to remember the Virginia Tech shooting victims:

What does it mean to be a Hokie?

Since the tragic events of Monday, April 16, 2007, I have asked myself this question.

We the fans of Virginia Tech have always been asked the question at various sporting events and especially bowl games: What is a Hokie?

I have typically answered the question with the response that a Hokie is a winner.

It has become commonplace to think of Virgnia Tech in terms of its athletic teams and especially the highly successful football team. We think of Michael Vick, Bruce Smith, Cyrus Lawrence, Ashley Lee and Mitchell Barnes, if you are from

Franklin and Southampton County, and all the other outstanding athletes that have played for Virginia Tech.

We think of the excellence of the college of engineering and agriculture and all the other fine programs offered by one of the finest institutions of higher education in the country.

However, the events of April 16 have caused all of us to re-examine what it means to be a Hokie and our own personal relationship with Virginia Tech.

What does it mean to be a Hokie?

I think that question has been answered countless times by the students of Virginia Tech as they have answered question after question with poise, dignity and tact to some things from national commentators that would have been better left unasked.

A Hokie is passionate about Virginia Tech and feels compassion for his fellow man.

A Hokie is proud of his university and humbled by the outpouring of support and love from friends, neighbors and associates.

Being a Hokie is having a positive attitude in the face of unspeakable tragedy and horrendous loss.

Being a Hokie means overwhelming pride in being able to be associated with Virginia Tech as a student, fan, employee, graduate or parent.

I have personally

never been prouder to call myself a Hokie.

We as part of the greater Virginia Tech community wish to thank everyone for the thoughts and prayers as we try and cope with this event.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this tragic incident.

We are praying for all of the students as they recover that their minds will be settled and feelings comforted — as they continue to finish their studies.