Time to Move On

On the way to Roanoke last week, we took a turn on 460 West for a short side trip to Blacksburg and the campus of Virginia Tech. I had planned to walk the drill field area, check out any remaining memorials and perhaps take a picture of Norris Hall and post it here. But it was a gray, overcast day and spitting rain. The thought occurred to me that the weather was merely reflecting the sorrow and the tears that were still being shed in that place.

As we drove around the drill field, we noted that the spontaneous memorials had been removed, replaced instead by a permanent one currently under construction in front of Burruss Hall. I had planned to stop in front of Norris Hall and snap a picture, but there were several students and faculty in the area, and even going in and out of Norris–it just didn’t seem right to walk up there in their presence with a camera and put them through that again. I’m sure they’ve had quite enough of that. Norris Hall has apparently reopened though, and there are plans to use it again this fall (for a slide show of the renovated second floor, click here).

After driving around the drill field a couple of times, we exited toward the east side of campus by Cassell Coliseum and Lane Stadium. We looked to our right and saw Ambler Johnston Hall, the site of the first shootings. It was humming like a beehive, and apparently some undergraduates were already moving back in. Outside one of the doors hung a banner: Welcome Back Students!

I glanced at my watch. It was time for us, and Virginia Tech, to move on.

  1. JRB

    One of the most beautiful aspects of the academic cycle each year is the ability to “do over.” Terms and holidays provide natural points to reconsider and to begin a new. Whenever I have a less than engaging class, I take heart that I get a chance to try again in just a few months. I have seen this manifest itself in loss and tragedy as well on several campuses. Not that a school community will ever forget something like this, but quick attrition and a new term accelerates the pain into history, leaving profound lessons but also speeding healing and learning.

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    And a little music helps too! (click here)

  3. Stoogelover

    It is a fact of life … we eventually have to move on or be left behind.

  4. Mike the Eyeguy

    I bet you’re reminded a lot of that truth in your new job.

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