OT: April 16, 2018

I wrote a blog post last year and just wanted to share an excerpt from it today. Today, I am especially proud to be a Hokie.

Full post from my blog, Break Bread, on Tumblr

On this day, let us remember and honor what we lost; but let's also celebrate in how far we have come and what we have gained. Continue to create opportunities to show the world what it truly means to be a Hokie. Be there for others when they are in need, because so many were there for us when we needed them. Hug your loved ones a little longer, laugh a little louder; celebrate your successes, learn and move on from your defeats.

Continue to find joy in the small things in life.
In honor of this day and every day, simply, continue being a Hokie. Continue living for 32 and neVer forgeTting. Continue saying "Go Hokies" to those you pass by that are wearing orange and maroon. Continue jumping to Enter Sandman as it randomly plays at a bar, restaurant, or the radio. Continue giving a 'thumbs up' or waving to the people in the car who are sporting the Virginia Tech decals or VT license plates. When someone asks you what a Hokie is, continue to respond "I Am." Continue giving high fives after touchdowns to every single person around you in Lane Stadium. And always continuing coming back Home after you leave. This is Home, and We Are Virginia Tech.

Go Hokies.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

We are Virginia Tech.

Reach for Excellence!

VT Football: It'll get after ya!

Proud Hokie since 2004.

Don't read this at work if you don't want your coworkers to see you cry

Always a sobering day when I wake up and see the date on my phone on April 16th. However, each year we continue to prevail.

Promised myself I wouldn't cry today. Dammit. Thanks 4VPISU.

I love being a Hokie.

Unsuccessful as well but glad for the chance to shed those tears once again.

From the 2018 VT-uva game-"This is when LEGENDS are made!"

This isn't OT. It's about as on topic as anything can be.

Rip his freaking head off!

Always Proud to be a Hokie. Especially on 4/16. RIP 32

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

thanks for the post. powerful day of remembrance

My dad's favorite story is running into Fowler in a hotel bar Chicago when the Game Day crew was staying there before a ND game. My dad thanked him for this article and for all of his kind words following the events. Fowler teared up and stopped my dad mid-sentence and told him that the ECU game was the first and only time he's ever had to fight back tears on set, and that all three of himself, Herby, and Corso cried their eyes out as soon as the game started and they were no longer on camera. He said that Blacksburg is still Game Day's favorite place to go and that there was not a fan base in the entire country that was less deserving of such a tragedy. My dad offered to buy him a drink, Fowler politely declined, and they went their separate ways. Chris left the bar before my father, and when my dad tried to charge his bill back to his room, the bartender told him that Mr. Fowler had already covered it. The bartender showed him the receipt and at the bottom, Chris had written "NeVer ForgeT - Go Hokies!"


"War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.”~~Judge Holden

Gave me chills

me too

Great. Now this is starting to make me breakdown...

Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Alumnus or not. Chris Fowler will always be a Hokie to us.

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

That's incredible. Thanks for sharing LA

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Such an amazing story, thanks for sharing.

Twitter me

Like 9/11, I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when the news reports came in. God Bless.

I completely agree. I was teaching first grade and one of my co-workers asked during my planning period if I had heard the news. It hit me like a ton of bricks. My husband and I had just been in Blacksburg visiting friends. My first thought was the Blacksburg Boys. As relieved as I was to find out that our group was okay, I was a complete mess. My first thought was "How? What? Why?" Blacksburg is a drinking town with a football problem---things like that don't happen there.

I may be a Hokie by marriage, but my blood is just as orange and maroon as my husband's. No matter what our diplomas say today we are all Hokies.. NeVer FogeT

2 time Longwood grad married to a Hokie.

I couldn't believe it when I heard the news. I literally felt like I had been punched in the gut.

I want to upvote this, but it's at +32.

Leave it there

32 is where it should be

2 time Longwood grad married to a Hokie.

Still there, now THAT gives me chills

neVer forgeT

Today I got the question from my son: "Dad, why are you wearing your Hokies shirt?" Not that it's unusual for me to do so. But it's the first time he's asked and I don't know what to say to him. He's only four and all I could think to tell him is that today was an important day. I hugged him and tried my best not to openly cry all over him. That day is part of every day for me and how I moved through that day on campus still feels like a bad dream. But I will never stop believing that being a Hokie is one of the greatest titles I get to walk around with every day. I love you, Hokies!

'07 Mechanical Engineering

"Touchdown, Tech! I have never enjoyed saying that more"
-Bill Roth

I am not looking forward to explain to my daughter why Mom and Dad wear maroon and orange on a day in April when there's no football game. I'm hoping our annual attendance at the Remembrance Walk/Run clues her in.

I wish I could attend every year, it's a long drive from Virginia Beach (and a complete no-go from Spain when I was there.)

'07 Mechanical Engineering

"Touchdown, Tech! I have never enjoyed saying that more"
-Bill Roth

Believe it or not, 4/16 was the day that solidified me wanting to be a Hokie. I graduated high school the following year in 2008, but my sister and cousin were on campus (3 years older than me). I knew I really liked tech, and loved their engineering program, but that was the day that made me want nothing more than to be a Hokie.

I was in class when I got called down to the principals office to take a phone call from my parents (which had never happened before and was concerning to begin with), who told me what had happened and that my sister was at work in Hancock and they hadn't been able to get ahold of her. We finally got through and found out she was ok, but that she was actually trying to get into Norris when it all happened. She tried the door in the tunnel which was chained shut, and as soon as she turned the corner she heard it and saw people jumping out windows (we later found out two of her friends were shot, and a third sadly didn't make it.)

I skipped school the next day to go down to Blacksburg with my parents and the amazing resilience, love, support, and friendship that I found when expecting a town filled with grief and sadness was astounding. We waited in line to get into Cassell for the memorial service which was equally as amazing, as I'm sure you're all aware. While that day was horrible and sad, it made me realize what a special place Blacksburg is and that I wanted nothing more to be a Hokie, which I became a few months later on early admission.

Blacksburg truly is one of the greatest places on earth, in my opinion, and everyday I am glad to be a part of such a strong Hokie Nation that was able to prevail in the memory of the 32 lost.

Believe it or not, 4/16 was the day that solidified me wanting to be a Hokie. I graduated high school the following year in 2008

Have a similar story. Also graduated in 2008 and was trying to decide where to go to college, but heavily leaning towards VT. I distinctly remember someone asking me if I was scared to go to VT after the shooting. After thinking about it for a moment, I realized that what attracted me to VT was the community, and seeing the university and town rally around the shooting reinforced my thought.

Twitter me

I will repeat this story until I die, but nothing made me prouder to be a Hokie than what I saw from the media in the week or two following:

As every station I turned on had continuing coverage, each with different students, professors, VT police, etc discussing this tragedy, EVERY newscaster seemed to be looking for a sound bite. Every person from the media asked the same or similar questions: Do you feel safe? Will you return next year? Or even trying to convince them they shouldn't. And EVERY person being interviewed gave their interviewer the same incredulous look, like "Are you seriously asking me that question?" and stated "Of course I'll be back. Once a Hokie always a Hokie".

There was no doubt in their minds. No reason they would not return home.

It also reinforced my love of Virginia Tech, a community that I will always call home no matter how far away from Blacksburg I may roam.

^^^^THIS! 1000%!
I remember the constant media gotcha attempts over and over and the interviewed students, etc. NEVER WENT THERE. This made me incredibly proud of Hokie Nation and the NRV community I now live in.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

it pissed me off so much that everyone else seemed to go there. Pundits would rail about the school. Parents would freak out about the whole thing all while their kids were standing by the community. Heck, my mom tried to insist that I come home, but I was already home.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I was another one that graduated HS in 2008. I remember going to a gathering that some group affiliated with the university put together for all the local students that had been offered admission - your typical open house/"hype" event to answer questions and convince the kids and parents to send in their acceptances (if they hadn't already).

The one thing I remember is a parent asking if the tragedy had done anything to dampen admissions or acceptance standards, i.e. if fewer kids applied then the average student profile was lower and/or the admission "cutoff" was lower. The graduating class in 2008 was the 1st class who applied after April 16th.

The woman leading the meeting (who I believe had ties to admissions) proudly said that it was the largest applicant class they had in history, and she had heard countless stories of families saying they wanted their kids to go there and become part of Hokie Nation because of the sense of community and resilience that was shown in the face of tragedy and relentless media coverage.

Even though I was planning to go to VT regardless, I submitted my acceptance as soon as I got home.

I remember April 16, 2007, as vividly as any other day in my entire life. It was a day a lot like today. It was a Monday, it was uncharacteristically cold for mid-April, and it was snowing. We actually had a snow day that day, the latest one we had ever had while I was in the Greenbrier County School System. I was playing PlayStation when my mom's college roommate called. My mom didn't answer because anytime they talked, they would talk for hours, and she had work to do. Her former roommate left a message, though, telling us to turn on the news because something terrible was happening at Tech. I could hear that she was crying.

For the remainder of the day, my sister, only a year younger than me, and my mother sat in front of the tv watching the number of fatalities and wounded climb. Every time one of those numbers increased by 1, it felt like 100. Finally, the number of fatalities stopped at 32 and the wounded at 29 (if you include those jumping out of 3-story windows to save their lives).

Growing up as a diehard Virginia Tech fan in West Virginia, I got my fair share of grief, whether it be from classmates, teachers, or random people you pass at Walmart. I didn't begin watching Hokie sports until I was in the 1st grade, and April 16, 2007 was when I was a 3rd grader. For the first two years of my fandom, I took the trash talk personally. I truly thought that I wasn't supposed to like WVU fans and they weren't supposed to like me. When we all returned to school the next day, though, many of my classmates gave me a pat on the back. That Friday when the entire nation was urged to wear VT apparel or just maroon and orange, everyone at my school participated. I remember one of my classmates who was raised a diehard WVU fan and who I was constantly in arguments with wore a custom-made VT shirt honoring the victims. It was then that I realized there is more to life and your friendships than what team you root for. I would have figured that out at some point, obviously, but I learned it, and I learned it well, following April 16, 2007.

I will never forget that day for as long as I live, I will always remember the victims, and I will always appreciate how the rest of the nation honored VT on that day.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

I wore Hokies stuff All day in Cancun. Got recognized for what today was and it just made me feel good to be international and get the shout out. LETS GO.

Now, Cole, when you shift the gear and that little needle on the tach goes into the red and reads 9000 RPMs, that's bad!


Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

I didn't attend VT but am a Hokie by marriage. I will neVer forgeT that day because one of my former high school volleyball players was a freshman that year and shortly after I heard about the active shooter I started getting pictures from him of the police staging outside of his dorm. He had a small part on the ESPN radio show in Blacksburg and when he called the station to report what was going on they transferred his call to CNN and he was talking there. His mother in VB had not heard from him and the first time she heard that he was safe was when she heard his voice on CNN. Needless to say once he hung up with CNN his mother, Greek ancestry, called him and proceeded to light him up for 45 minutes for not calling her to tell her he was safe.

While I was with NASCAR, there were always a few of us sprinkled around that were known to be Hokies. I dealt mainly with track emergency services personnel, which has always been a fairly tight-knit bunch. The circuit was on the West Coast swing heading for Phoenix, then Talladega before landing in Richmond. Richmond was high-profile and very emotional. But the most unexpected thing, and the one that I still carry with me, happened as we rolled into Charlotte Motor Speedway (Lowes Motor Speedway at the time)...

Each day, our group had a "Track Services Meeting" prior to any on-track activity, going through our (NASCAR's) expectations for the day and clarifying any questions folks might have. We went into the first meeting for the All-Star weekend, and everyone was already wearing their track gear. The majority of the on-track clean-up crew and a few assorted others unzipped their fire suits and were wearing the maroon "Hokies United" t-shirt. They knew I hadn't had the chance to get to Blacksburg beyond checking on friends, and they handed one to me as well. One of their crew leaders had driven up to Blacksburg and bought several dozen of them out of his own pocket. Those t-shirts were worn through the entire event weekend. I don't remember a thing about those two race weeks, but I remember every single time I saw a guy wearing a fire suit there seemed to be a maroon t-shirt underneath.

We are Virginia Tech.
We will neVer forgeT.
We are ALL Hokies.

And no surprise there, it's Wally Lancaster with an airball that looked gorgeous on its way to nowhere...
2/15/89, VT vs. South Carolina...


Anyone remember this from the OSU spring game that year? Very classy show of respect, I thought.