Chapel Hill: Opinion

Matthew Boone: Tar Heel nation will grieve, become stronger

I do not typically voice such opinions openly and publicly, however, in light of the most recent act of violence, this time in my hometown, I cannot help but say something, and it is this:

My world was turned upside down on April 16, 2007, when a terrible tragedy took place. Blacksburg, Va., the town I have called my “second home” since I was a kid, was instantly the focus of the world’s attention, and it was relentless. No longer was it a quiet college town in the Blue Ridge mountains with a football team and stadium full of Hokies that played and roared like no other on Saturdays. The world was shocked, and no community felt the hurt more so than Virginia Tech’s. However, Hokie Nation came together, supported one another, grieved, cried and sought answers.

Our answer: We, the entire worldwide Virginia Tech community, became stronger, closer and rose above such a heinous act. We have become a community and culture of which an ever increasing number of people seek inclusion. We did not let an overwhelmingly negative event become the connotation associated with Virginia Tech. We prevailed, but not without the massive support of individuals, groups and institutions all over the planet.

To all of those people, each and every Hokie thanks you. When the time comes for us to help others, rest assured that we have not forgotten, nor will we ever forget, all that was done for us in our time of vulnerability and need. I am incredibly proud to have witnessed Hokie Nation take upon its shoulders the responsibility to truly embody the university’s motto Ut Prosim, “That I May Serve.”

The tragic events of Tuesday evening, Feb. 10, 2015, in Chapel Hill, amid the pervasive media coverage of other violent acts perpetrated within our borders, serve as another reminder that we must all continue to strive for something better both individually and collectively.

UNC is, unfortunately, no stranger to violence. I truly feel for the families and friends of the victims and for the global Tar Heel community. The repetitive nature of violent acts in this country can easily desensitize one to these very real, dangerous occurrences. At times even I want to be apathetic and put them out of sight and out of mind. Yet, I cannot do that; they strike a chord in my being that I cannot ignore. As difficult as it may be, Tar Heel Nation must rally, grieve and cry together, seek answers and become stronger as did Hokie Nation. They will.

Publicly voicing my thoughts on this matter is but one way that I am able to live Ut Prosim, and it is my hope that any and all who read this will find the comfort, strength and benevolence to take it upon themselves to graciously serve their fellow man so we can all grow closer and wiser.

We are all humans, no matter our skin color or creed, and each and every one of us deserves a chance to live a full, meaningful life in pursuit of serving mankind to a better, higher degree. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our compatriots and we owe it to our world.

Hokies for Heels. Much love.

Matthew Boone is a member of the Virginia Tech Class of 2010.