Looking Back, Moving Ahead
Virginia Tech Alums at Duke

“The sad part is that this can happen anywhere. The question is how can we help people before they get to this point?

I feel that it has made people reach out to others whom they may have been afraid to reach out to before. It might also make our government take another look at gun control, as well as campus security, and the mental health system.

As a Christian I know I am supposed to forgive, to show others love and compassion. I want to forgive Cho and I’m working on that. If I don’t, anger and hatred will prevail again and that is exactly what caused all of this.

I really don’t know about having a memorial for Cho in the same location of those that he killed. He took the lives of many innocent people and their families should not have to suffer each time they pay tribute to their loved ones. I do not have a solution for this problem.

More than anything, this incident caused [people] to pull together as a university and community. If you ask any Virginia Tech Hokie how it feels to be a Hokie, more so than not, the answer you will get is 'proud.'

Jessica Squires, M.Div.’09 A 2006 graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in psychology and religious studies, Squires was wearing a Virginia Tech sweatshirt for the first time at Duke on April 16 when a University of Virginia alumnus told her about the shootings. After her Hebrew class, she learned through Facebook that her friends at Tech had survived.

“My first thought that day was ‘This can’t be happening on any campus, much less on my campus at Virginia Tech.’ My first thought was that I would drive up to Blacksburg from Danville, but then I realized maybe I should not. I was torn.

There’s a lot we will never understand about what happened. We need to mourn, but move forward. Let’s be there for one another, but not be defined by that day.

At our memorial service we said that 33 people died, and we lit a candle for Cho and his family. There was no sense of animosity focused on one man. As an alum and a member of the clergy, I wanted to focus on words of comfort and hope, building on Nikki Giovanni’s theme that ‘We will prevail.’ We are a people of strong faith who can look tragedy straight in the eye and persevere.

David Christian Magruder, M.Div.’09. A student pastor serving at Swansonville United Methodist Church, Swansonville, Va., Magruder learned about the shootings from radio reports. A 1979 graduate of Virginia Tech, he is president of the alumni association, and the father of a daughter who graduated in 2006.

Copyright © 2007 Duke Divinity School. All Rights Reserved.
magazine@div.duke.edu  (919) 660-3412