Don’t forget the heroes amid the tragedies | PostIndependent.com
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Don’t forget the heroes amid the tragedies

Write AnglesDale ShrullGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Dale Shrull
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Another school shooting.Another bunch of unanswered questions.When tragedies like the Virginia Tech shootings happen, it leaves us a little numb.Unimaginable is what we think. “Why?” is what we ask.As the images from Blacksburg continue to pound us, we keep asking questions and trying to comprehend the horror those students and faculty experienced.Few of us can comprehend such a scene.One gunman killing 32 people is unfathomable. But now it’s a reality. The worst shooting ever on U.S. soil.Somewhat like Sept. 11, 2001, this tragedy has left us stunned. There’s a flood of mixed emotions – anger, pain, torment, sympathy, anguish … So many emotions. So many questions.A college shooting is different than the middle school and high school shootings from the past.We will never forget Columbine High School. April 20, 1999, will forever be linked with those two heartless shooters, who will not be named here.Columbine defined school tragedy at its worst.Now the Virginia Tech chapter will take its place in an ever-growing history book of U.S. tragedies.Like Columbine we will learn about the shooter as the days and weeks drift by. Theories will emerge on why he did this. What caused a man to kill 32 people? How could he do such a thing?The Virginia Tech gunman has been identified, but he won’t be named here.With any tragedy, the search for silver linings seems futile and rather absurd at first. But we should not be obsessed with focusing on the man who caused this tragedy. The same can be said for Columbine or with Platte Canyon High School, or the Amish school, or even with the terrorists who rocked our world on Sept. 11, 2001. We should not allow our thoughts to ignore the victims and the heroes.In Columbine there was a teacher named Dave Sanders who helped save lives before he died. There were the firefighters and other heroic stories from 9/11 that inspired us. In every tragedy there seems to be a silver lining that emerges from the pain and anguish. The stories that should never be buried beneath the layers of questions and the intrigue of terrorists and gunmen.There were heroes in Blacksburg, too.Liviu Librescu is one. He was shot to death, but the engineering and math lecturer saved lives with his actions. As he tried to barricade the doorway of the classroom, students were given a precious few seconds to escape out the windows. He died so others could live.More stories will surface. It’s these stories that inspire. The gunman and other terrorists like him serve as an example of the worst of mankind.Dave Sanders, Liviu Librescu, the passengers of Flight 93, the countless firefighters and other heroes of 9/11, and the many others who were confronted by terror and stood tall in the face of death should never be forgotten.Our thirst for information about the shooter will consume and fascinate us. We want to know what this monster was. And we will find out.The shock of the Virginia Tech tragedy will remain with us for years. Hopefully, so will the stories of heroism.In Blacksburg, Va., we saw the best and the worst of mankind. There were many campus heroes in Blacksburg.Don’t let the heroes of this tragedy fade away.They deserve to be remembered.Dale Shrull is managing editor of the Post Independent.


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