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Commentary: Hokie Support in My Hometown

by Suzanne Higgs
News Staff Writer
April 25, 2007

The sea of maroon and orange from all the memorial services across campus washed over Hampton Roads on Friday April 20.

With the recent tragedy on campus, the whole nation has responded with support and encouragement. My hometown in Hampton was no different.

After Monday’s events my parents came up to spend time with me, but left the next day. The wanted me to return with them, but I wanted to stay for the candlelight vigil that night.

I returned home early Wednesday and later discovered that Friday, April 20 had been named “Orange and Maroon Effect Day.” Now I have Virginia Tech shirts and so does everyone that lives in my house, so we were set.

When my friends went out to find anything maroon and orange to wear I was surprised to hear that people were trying to get the last shirt. I knew there had been an outpouring of support from the nation, but I did not fathom that Hokie Gear would sell out. There was nothing with Virginia Tech on it left in Hampton, not at Wal-Mart, A&N, or anywhere else that carries our colors.

Local community businesses and national franchises, schools, and churches all showed their support on Friday.

McDonald’s on Pembroke Avenue near my house had their flags lowered, including the one with the golden arches.

Friends of our family, Kim O’Donoghue, who owns Flagship Title, and Curtis Minton, who works with her in downtown Hampton said everyone in the office wore jerseys, hoodies, and anything else maroon and orange. Even Buddy Love, the office dog, wore a maroon bandana.

At Outdoor World in Williamsburg, where my family camps, maroon and orange balloons were displayed at the front gate and at other locations around the grounds. Workers that are close to my family also called to see if I was safe.

My family showed their Hokie Pride on Friday. At Newport News Waterworks my step-mom, Kim Higgs, and her team of cashiers wore Virginia Tech apparel or ribbons to show their support for the victims and the school.

Even my little brother showed his spirit with his new Virginia Tech basketball shorts that we bought on Tuesday and his Orange Effect shirt. Other students in his class as well as the rest of the school at Phillips Elementary became Hokies for a day. One student made her own shirt that remembered the victims.

Kecoughtan High School a showed their support by putting a message on the marquee in front of the building and lowering flags.

The Church of Christ on Woodland offered their prayers, as many churches in the area did.

It was nice to escape the media invasion and go home, but I did miss our Hokie Nation. On Friday, I came back to them through all of the constant reminders in my hometown.

Hampton showed its support for Lauren McCain, for me and all of Virginia Tech on Friday. Because of the amount of encouragement from my family, friends, and community-at school and at home, I know we will prevail.

Thank you Hampton.


Comments (7)


With all due respect to the fallen, you students deserve better than what your faculty and administration did to you.

A killing on campus in 2006, several bomb threats and a double homicide on the morning of the shootings?

And still they do not even cancel classes. Shameful!!! Let the lawsuits begin!

Ed Vining | April 25, 2007 6:51 PM

Your "respect" really is not worth much Mr. Vining if you just came here to parrot the line that our corporate "news" media is using to milk these tragic deaths into a full-blown controversy.

Oh, sure they have all given air time and column space to the victims and their families, and they are still telling the stories of the overwhelming response locally, nationally, world-wide. But they know that only controversy will be the only thing that will give this story legs a month from now, two months from now, a year from now. Controversy is how they will continue to make their buck off of this tragedy.

Yes, let the lawsuits begin. Then we can all watch with smug superiority while CNN, Fox News, and the rest sell us shampoo under the guise of "reporting". We can all munch Cheetos on the couch while the "news" tells us how much better we are than the people who had to make on-the-spot decisions with no information guide them.

Balrog | April 26, 2007 5:16 AM

Awesome article Suzanne!

Andrew Mager | April 26, 2007 8:23 AM

I was overwhelmed with emotion from Suzanne's article only to be appalled that Ed Vining would desecrate it with his comment. I have no problem with the comment per se (although I don't agree with it)... My problem is that he chose the wrong forum. Great article Suzanne and kudos to your home town!

Sky Watcher | April 26, 2007 8:46 AM

I meant to give you the photos of Calvary AoG's vigil to Tech. Let me know if you would like them and I shall email them to you. They Can be seen on the Paradym Myspace page as a Slideshow. At any rate this was a fantastic article. I think that its important to pay respect to those that have gone on in this unnessesary event. Thank you for honoring those families

June Kern | April 26, 2007 12:28 PM

Great story Suzie, I loved it! Pictures were great too! Va. Tech kids show the world that the HOKIES are strong and that everyone makes mistakes and you learn from them and move on. Placing blame does not help the healing process. Not everyone knows the meaning of community, family isn't always blood but those who love you and you love. Join together and find peace in your grieving, support, love and respect each other and together you will heal as a community!!

Terri from Florida | April 29, 2007 3:08 PM

You go Girl!!! We tried to find maroon and orange ribbons but ended up getting sring. We braided the colors together and made braclets. I still have mine on and will keep it on until it falls off.

Mike Karalfa | April 29, 2007 10:15 PM