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Gingrich: “It’s hard to express how shocking it was”

Posted by Stephen on April 17, 2007

So said former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; so said the nation. These are the sentiments still being shared by a nation mourning with the VA Tech family following the unspeakable events of April 16, 2007. That too is a date that will live in infamy.

Gingrich, who arrived in Harrisonburg, Virginia, to speak to students at James Madison University on Monday, spoke first with Conservative Viewpoints and the New Dominion. The former Speaker of the House expressed heartfelt emotions in describing his feelings following the events of the day at VA Tech.

“We have several friends who have relatives in Blacksburg; one of whom was one floor down during the shooting in the dormitory. It’s very personal,” shared Gingrich.

These same feelings are shared throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Virginia Tech is a very popular university in the Valley. People in the region take great pride in supporting the university during good days. During times like those we face today, the people of the Valley look to support one another through thoughts, prayer, and vigils.

“My heart and my prayers go out to the families of the young people that were killed and those that were wounded,” expressed the former Speaker.

As VA Tech begins the first steps of piecing back together a shattered community so do communities across Virginia and the nation. Many students will make their way back to friends and families seeking no more than a shoulder to lean on and arms to be held in. Most will not need words of wisdom or clichés explaining the “right way” to look at these events. Many of these young hearts need support that comes with the simplicity of being loved.

Still, the haunting reality of that tragic day will begin to settle deep in the soul of many students who call VA Tech home. The tormenting screams, the echo of gunshots, the vision of hysteria, and the cold sweat that accompanies not knowing what lies in the shadows and goes bump in the night are the gifts left by a twisted soul drowning in a cesspool of darkeness and torment.

While they seek wisdom and discovery, their words leave them. Even the mundane descriptions of a boring day will pose challenges to the brightest of those returning to the sanctity of what they call home. It is those words that confound us all. People want to express their pain, sorrow, anger, and anxiety. People want answers, and the sand is running out of their hour glass.

“It is horrifying and you have to wonder what happened to the attacker to make him flip out like that. Words can’t express it,” shared Gingrich who, like all of us, was searching for the right words to address unimaginable events.

There were hero’s on Monday, and we will learn about them and their stories. For now, students at VA Tech are embracing one another at vigils on campus and in intimate settings where spirituality can be expressed even by those that would not typically seek such sanctuary. Students have just begun to honor the fallen and as they do so, people will witness the true character of the human spirit. These traits are exemplified in the dignity in which students continue to conduct themselves as they take their first steps in the mourning process.

“I think you’ll see this kind of a reaction, as people come together on college campuses across the nation,” concluded Gingrich.

Putting the pieces back together will be a lengthy process, but with prayer, compassion, strength, and wisdom the innocence that has been shattered for eternity can be replaced with peace, comfort, and an understanding that individual destiny does not cease, but rather endures in the light of faith.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.

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