We also asked the students to send us their written thoughts on that terrible day, which we'll be posting here throughout the afternoon. Here is junior Heidi Dull, whose friend Caitlin Hammaren was killed in the shootings:
Today when I woke up, my first thoughts were about this day last year: it was a typical cold day in Blacksburg, with me probably complaining about class and all the work I had to do, not knowing that my world was about to change. Then I thought about all the amazing people whose April 16th, 2007, was their last day. So I got out of bed this morning and thought, “Today I’ll live for 32.”
I’ll admit that walking around campus today was a bit different. There were more police than normal; I even noticed police cars from other universities around the state. Although the school says they are here for support, it still takes me back to one year ago when they were swarming the campus for security reasons.
Today the media is very visible on campus as well. I went to the memorial with a newspaper reporter from my hometown, and many news stations are now set up around the drill field. I have very mixed feelings about them being here because I want the world to see how much we have recovered and how strong and tight-knit our community is -- but I also wish we were able to grieve more privately.
With the one-year anniversary here, I am so impressed by Virginia Tech. This school meant so much to me before the shootings, and now it means the world to me. The strength and courage we have had through the past year says something about the people here. We are continuing to prevail as we remember the lives of the 32 amazing Hokies we lost that day.