neVer forgeT

Being a Hokie is not a mercenary relationship. It is not a business proposition. It is not an exchange of goods and services for money. It is a shared bond, a love that comes from somewhere we don’t understand and can’t explain to others. We do not take from this university; it gives to us. Perhaps when we first arrive on its campus, we have our own selfish interests in mind, but by the time we leave, we are transformed. We are Hokies.

It is sad and tragic that this happened to us. Because we love this university, we are devastated by what happened here. But if it was necessary for us to suffer in order for others to benefit, it is a burden we will bear, because our motto — Ut Prosim, That I May Serve — tells us that’s what we must do. If our tragedy brings you together, if our loss makes you safer and makes you value what is important in life, if our suffering is not in vain, then we are prepared to shoulder this load … so you don’t have to. That has always been the mission of this university, and we are honored to carry it out.

Do not let the deaths of these 32 victims be in vain. Look into your hearts and see what it teaches you, and how you may be better because of what we have gone through. And know that when the bodies are in the earth, when the media has left, when others have moved on and life resumes its course, that for us, there is only one emotion left: Love. Love for this university, love for the people who died on April 16th, 2007, and love for those who are left behind.

Remember this, and what happened here will not have been for naught.

William Neal Stewart


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