A Story Twice Told

The story has been told before, about eight years ago in Colorado. It was told again on April 16 in Virginia. Young people with a bright future struck down before their time by their very troubled peers.

Before going further, please read this passionate article, Virginia Tech, written by teacher and author Paula Reed, with the heart and eyes of a person who has seen these depths.

How many more times do we have to tell this story? When do we learn that it’s time we start taking better care of each other? When do we stop pointing fingers and begin listening?

I cry for the parents who have to bury their dreams along with their children. I can’t help shedding a tear for myself, a father having dreams for his son and daughter, one of whom will be leaving for college and his own dreams in the fall.

When do we learn that violence is never the answer? When do we learn that reaching out and loving each other can truly bring us peace?

Let me end with the verse of a song I often sang during my youth.

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

— Pete Seeger, Where Have All the Flowers Gone?



One response to “A Story Twice Told

  1. Excellent post, Neal. It’s unthinkable, unspeakable, impossible to conceive of the loss. When I first heard the news, I thought immediately of Paula, and then of our friend, Jimmy, a junior engineering major at VT (who is fine). Then I remembered that Jimmy’s cell number was in my phone, left over from last summer’s wooden bat team, which led immediately to thoughts of those parents frantically calling cell phones that went unanswered.

    You seem to be keenly aware of how difficult it will be to send your son off to college. It’s hard and wonderful at the same time but we all worry every moment and we can all empathize with what these families are suffering. When we send our children off to universities we also come to love those universities and their locales. My intense sense of loyalty to New Orleans is an extension of my son’s choosing to go to college at Loyola. I realize tonight that we also mourn VT, the wounding of a venerable institution. It’s just very sad.

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