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Alumni’s Perspective on VT Tragedy

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Staff Writer

This Saturday marks the four year anniversary of the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech.  Alum offers his perspective of the events surrounding the event. 

We all remember the tragedy of the VT shooting, but the mood around campus has become less grave.  Last year a memorial service was held in Richmond, VA commemorating the event.  Students of the “4/16” generation are doing their part to relieve the campus of the heartbreaking catastrophe. 

            Dana Cox IV, Virginia Tech alum graduated in ’05, remembers the day well. In August 2006, there was a manhunt for a convict that allegedly killed a police officer and security guard.  The accused was supposedly reported on the campus of VT. 

Cox was at work less than two miles from campus when security guards armed with assault rifles told him and his colleagues to, “Go home and do not come back.”  That day VT campus was closed, the suspect was caught and no students were injured.

            Almost eight months later, on April 16, 2007, Cox was at work when he received began to receive calls from various family members and friends asking if was ok.  It was after the calls, that he heard there was another shooter on campus said Cox.  Concluding from the previous evacuation of the campus, Cox said he left and went to lunch as he had done in August. 

            VT officials immediately initiated an alert and there were reports of two student’s death. Cox said he was in the restaurant watching the catastrophe unfold. 

            “Some of my friends were directly affected by it,” said Cox. “My roommate of my sophomore year, he was in the room where students were shot, and managed to escape through a window.”

            Cox said he later visited the room where it had taken place and could not imagine people jumping from the heights.

 “Going back and thinking about it, I can’t imagine thinking about jumping out the window,” he said.

One of Cox’s groomsman, Matt Franklin VT alum, had a class scheduled the engineering building that was attacked that morning, but because of previous night activities sleep through the class said Cox. 

“It’s heavy to think about, it’s strange,” he said.

Another of the alum’s friend’s was studying as a graduate student and that morning his girlfriend was killed.  The boyfriend has since moved to Texas and is conducting lectures around the prohibiting firearms on campus. This is a contemporary topic for institutions and there is controversy surrounding this issue because many feel that by allowing firearms on campus, it would reduce the incidents.

As the anniversary approaches many will take the day to remember the legacy that the 32 killed have left. Although the emotions surrounding the event have grown lighter it still remains a day of gratitude and commemoration.