April 18, 2007 at 2:32 AMHow appropriate it feels that I had been replanting things damaged by the recent freeze just before the Virginia Tech Convocation, where I heard the story of Professor Liviu Librescu.
A seventy-six year old holocaust survivor, Professor Librescu died in the senseless violence that visited Virginia Tech's campus this week. More importantly, Professor Librescu was holding the door closed as young students escaped through the windows when the gunman shot him.
The irony of the two major violent dramas Professor Librescu experienced in his life tempts me to believe in destiny, though I really do not. Still, his life as a survivor only to give the ultimate sacrifice this week holds important lessons about how deeply the human spirit's reslience can flow.
Equally to the beautiful young violinist who died in the chaos, we are left with a dual message of both persistence and beauty wrapped up in the most clear definition of real paradox imaginable when we consider both she and Professor Librescu simultaneously.
This paradox that calls upon persistence as it's primary driving motive, will pull upon the hearts of the families suffering from phenomonal loss over the next months and years, as well as all those involved at Virginia Tech including it's University culture.
The worst shooting tragedy in American history, therefore is not colored by the numbers, but by the sadness that an aspiring violinist will not be heard, as the notes unheard join with the terrible memory of the millions from an earlier time, carried upon the memory of a 76 year old professor. God Bless the families surviving the Viriginia Tech tragedy. I'm convinced Proferssor Librescu's tiller is already making yet another way.
"So if you're wondering whether it's harder for the adults here than for the children, the answer is no, it's certainly not. Older people have an opinion about everything and are sure of themselves and their actions. It's twice as hard for us young people to hold on to our opinions at a time when ideals are being shattered and destroyed, when the worst side of human nature predominates, when everyone has come to doubt truth, justice and God.
Anyone who claims that the older folks have a more difficult time in the Annex doesn't realize that the problems have a far greater impact on us. We're much too young to deal with these problems, but they keep thrusting themselves on us until, finally, we're forced to think up a solution, though most of the time our solutions crumble when faced with the facts. It's difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.
It's utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more. In the meantime, I must hold on to my ideals. Perhaps one day will come when I'll be able to realize them!"
Anne Frank, July 15, 1944.
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