katie's been published!

That building from the Modern looks awesome- I've got to make it out there at some point...

Kind of as a continuation of the whole Virginia Tech thing, Katie's newspaper, The Pilot, asked her if she'd write an article on her experience there this past weekend, and has published it in today's paper! (So proud of her... such a heart-felt letter from such a die-hard VT fan):

KATHRYN GALLOWAY: Tech Triumph: First Hokie Game Helps Healing Process

A tear rolled down my cheek and over my orange and maroon stick-on Virginia Tech tattoo on Saturday, as I was able to gain a sense of peace over the loss of so many fellow Hokies this past April.
This was the first time I was able to make it up to Blacksburg, Va., after the tragic multiple murders occurred, and although I expected it to be more than an emotional roller-coaster, I don't think that I could have anticipated the overwhelming sense of pride and love that filled the air of that beautiful mountain town.

I arrived on Friday night and walked into The Hokie House, a local bar and restaurant that my family and I have frequented since we began going to games about 15 years ago. About five minutes after we had sat down and begun settling into our long night ahead, a voice somewhere on the other side of the room suddenly began the familiar chant starting, "LET'S GO" and like clockwork, the opposite side of the bar responded, "HOKIES!"

The back-and-forth chant shook the small building and the souls of the fans and students therein. It was just a glimpse of the day ahead of us -- and a reminder that there was no animosity toward our opponents, no underlying anger toward the events of last April, but the feeling of moving on.

game day was upon us. At this time in the foggy morning on the Tech campus, my dad fired up the grill under the two orange and maroon tents. I was dressed from head to toe in my game day best: orange and maroon pompom earrings, VT ribbon in my hair, maroon shirt and orange belt.
We spent the next four hours celebrating and looking forward to the next four hours of what was to be a terrific season opener. Of course we talked point spreads, starting line-ups, and future opponents, but still we knew that this day was about more than just a football game.

The field was perfect, adorned with two new additions: orange ribbons with the maroon VT centered in them.

The Highty Tighties took the field, followed by the Marching Virginians, to proudly play the national anthem. The majestic words of our nation's song began, and then there was a beautiful tribute video played over the Hokie Vision screen, filled with images of the 32 victims, the aftermath, and the coming together of a community.

Thirty-two orange balloons were then released into air and drifted into the sky over Lane Stadium. With those balloons also floated away the pain of so many, and peace was found.

The woman beside me in the stands stood looking up in the sky as the balloons soared higher, and just as my first tear hit the ground, she laid a hand on my shoulder. She, too, had felt the same emotion. And as I looked around me, every face then seemed a little more familiar, and I knew I wasn't alone.

Of course, the sweet sounds of my favorite chant then echoed across the stadium, just as the night before. Only this time, it was 66,000 voices strong. "Enter Sandman" played, the crowd jumped, and the game began. It was everything that I could have expected and more.

Thirty-two memorial stones lay in a semicircle in front of Burgess Hall, each stone bearing the name of each victim. I approached the site only to stand in a quarter-mile line of orange and maroon shirts, most with flowers and watery eyes. It was a silence completely opposite of the game day crowd just a couple of hours before.

The stones were adorned with keepsakes from the friends and family of each, and it was as if I could see their faces and knew who they were. Each carried such character and life, and though to me they were strangers, I walked away feeling like a sister to each.

I did not attend Virginia Tech, though 19 people in my family dating back in the early 1900s attended and graduated. The roots of my family's passion and spirit for this team and school have extended to me.

One might think that such a love for a team and a college campus is a little odd. I would say to those people that it is more than a football team. It's about family. It's about 66,000 of your closest friends. It's about tradition. This past weekend, I was assured of the ability of a community to be a shoulder to lean on, and to heal.

This is a letter of confidence, writing to report that the Hokie Nation is still just as strong, and forever will be. I do believe that through adversity comes strength, and I have never witnessed a better testimony of unwavering strength than that of my weekend in Blacksburg.

If one phrase was engrained into every heart last weekend, it was the powerful message delivered from Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni at the memorial ceremony on April 17: "We will prevail. We ARE Virginia Tech."

Kathryn Galloway is a graphic designer with The Pilot.


Katie told me that one of her bosses asked her, after reading this article / letter to the editor, if she'd be willing to be a little bit more regular in the opinions section of her paper- way to go, katie!

No comments: