You have a history of the cheap political stunts to encourage people to think you are capable of caring about others. Your many visits to the destroyed Gulf Coast are perfect examples. You politicized and gutted FEMA. You were warned Katrina was a serious threat, but did nothing. You visited devastated areas time and again, but your administration accomplished little to clean up the mess. The least fortune and most vulnerable suffered the most from Katrina. Your words and sympathy did not translate into action.
You now want to pretend to grieve the loss of young lives. Before you bring your security circus to my alma mater, please explain your failure to attend the funerals of the 3300 young men and women killed in Iraq and 380 killed in Afghanistan. You made the decisions to send those soldiers to their deaths, but do everything possible to keep the deaths out of public consciousness. You should stay in Washington to figure out how to end the humanitarian crisis YOU created in Iraq.
You are expert at little more than transforming tragedy into carefully crafted political theater. Now you want to intrude upon the memorial service. I know God is dead in you, but do try to imagine for a nanosecond how the security might prevent the university community from coming together in grief. Your words will ease no one’s pain.
You cannot begin to understand what those of us with ties to Virginia Tech have lost in this tragedy. You have never jogged around the Duck Pond. You have never tubed down the New River. You never braved the winter winds trying to cross the Drill Field to get to classes. You never spent more than you could afford at Bogen’s or Books, Strings, and Things. You never watched the sun rise and set over the mountains. You never took a date to the Cascades for a romantic picnic. You never hiked the Appalachian Trial above Mountain Lake. You never watched a football game at Lane Stadium. You never practically lived in the stacks of Newman Library. You are not, nor will ever be, a member of the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg communities. You will never have to reconcile years of wonderful memories of Tech with the senseless loss of life on April 16, 2007.
Stay in Washington, D.C., and let the Virginia Tech community heal.
Class of '79 (BS), '82 (MS), '90 (PhD)
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