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A hero story from the VA Tech tragedy

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by zimbabwe, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. zimbabwe

    zimbabwe Active Member

    This won't exactly make you smile, but it should give serene, prayerful pause.

    Moddy's feel free to merge with the appropriate thread.

    Someone pointed this out to me and mentioned that maybe this guy survived the Holocaust so he could save lives all these years later.

    By Richard T. Cooper and Valerie Reitman
    (c) 2007, Los Angeles Times
    If you were lucky enough to have a choice, there were only two ways to go on the campus of Virginia Tech on Monday morning: away from danger or toward it. Engineering professor Liviu Librescu chose the second option, saved a classroom full of students and became a hero -- at the cost of his life.
    As a child, he had survived the Holocaust. As an adult, he had survived persecution for defying Romania's brutal communist regime during the Cold War. At last, with their children grown, he and his wife, Marlena, seemed to have found a safe haven on a quiet university campus in rural Virginia.
    But Monday, trouble found him once more. With bursts of gunfire rattling through the second floor of Norris Hall, Librescu, 76, closed his classroom door and urged his students to escape out the windows, recalled senior Caroline Merrey of Baltimore, the third student to jump.
    As they fled, Librescu held the door shut with his body as the gunman, 23-year-old senior Cho Seung-Hui, tried to force his way in.
    Moments after the last student leapt to safety, Cho apparently succeeded in forcing the door open and shot Librescu to death.

    (more next post)
     
  2. zimbabwe

    zimbabwe Active Member

    (continued)

    "My father has showed a sense of his courage in standing up for what he believed since long ago," said Joe Librescu, the professor's son.
    Liviu Librescu's actions struck a chord around the world.
    "Just one candle can light up a room filled with darkness. Professor Librescu has lit the entire world with hope, reminding us that heroes can still exist even in our dark times," Evan Goldenthal of Toronto wrote on a Facebook.com page of tributes to the professor.
    What Liviu Librescu did might be the most conspicuous act of heroism to surface thus far in the bloodiest massacre ever inflicted on an American campus by a lone gunman, but it was not the only story of bravery and determination in the face of mortal danger.
    Elsewhere in the building, students fought off attempts by the gunman to force open the doors to their classrooms. In one case, Cho had shot as many as a dozen students in a German language class, then departed in search of new targets. Two students held the door shut when the gunman returned; he reportedly fired several rounds into the door in frustration.
    There were numerous reports of students using articles of clothing, and in one case a piece of wire, to fashion tourniquets to stop bleeding from gunshot wounds, as well as taking other measures to provide first aid.
    Derek O'Dell, a 20-year-old sophomore majoring in biological sciences, said the gunman entered his classroom and opened fire without saying a word. O'Dell said most of the approximately 20 students in the class were hit. A bullet struck him in the right arm.
    Cho left the room, and O'Dell and another student, who was not identified, slammed the door and held it shut with their feet. Minutes later, Cho reportedly returned and tried to push his way back into the classroom.
    "He got the door open maybe an inch or two, and then we were able to shut it again," O'Dell told news organizations.
    Another student who kept Cho at bay was Zach Petkewicz: "I was completely scared out of my mind originally and just went into a cowering position," Petkewicz told CNN in describing his initial response. "And then I just realized, I mean, you've got to do something."
    Petkewicz said he and his 10 classmates became aware of the danger when they heard gunshots and a scream. One student, peaking out the door, glimpsed the gunman and ducked back inside.
    "Everybody kind of went into a frenzy, a panic. I hid behind the podium and then just kind of looked up at the door. It was just, like, there was nothing stopping this guy from just coming in," he told CNN.
    "And so I said, `We need to barricade this door.' Me and two others got up, threw a couple of tables in front of it, and had to physically hold it there. ... He came to our door, tried the handle, couldn't get in, because we were pushing up against it.
    "He tried to force his way in, got the door to open up about six inches, and then we just lunged at it and closed it back up. And that's when he backed up and shot twice into the middle of the door," Petkewicz said.
    Minutes later, when police reached the second floor of Norris Hall, they found Cho dead, apparently having killed himself.
    In the case of Liviu Librescu, violent death came with a special irony: it arrived when he seemed to have found tranquillity -- as well as contentment -- after a life of danger and struggle. He had become a popular professor with an international reputation in aeronautical engineering.
    "He and my mom led a simple life in a pastoral place in Virginia, between hills and mountains, and he loved the school in which he taught," said Joe Librescu, who is a Virginia Tech alumnus.
    As a boy, Liviu Librescu survived Romania's version of the Holocaust, in which Romanian fascists who collaborated with Hitler killed hundreds of thousands of Jews.
    After World War II, Liviu Librescu became a distinguished scientist but clashed with the communist regime that ruled the country after it came under Soviet dominance. He was harassed for refusing to embrace the communist government and secretly circulating his scientific papers in the Free World, family members said. He was forced from his job when he asked to emigrate to Israel.
    Only after a personal appeal by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1977 was Liviu Librescu allowed to leave. He taught and carried on his research in Israel for almost a decade, then went to Virginia Tech on a sabbatical that turned into a 20-year career as a lecturer and research scientist.
    In Israel, Monday was Holocaust Remembrance Day.
    Times staff writers Bob Drogin, Faye Fiore and Johanna Neuman contributed to this report.
     
  3. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    This was talked about extensively on the other thread, but to me, it's a story I could read over and over again.

    A true hero.
     
  4. zimbabwe

    zimbabwe Active Member

    Sorry. I guess if I'm going to d_b something, I don't feel ashamed to d_b this...
     
  5. BitterYoungMatador2

    BitterYoungMatador2 Well-Known Member

    If there's ever a statue fund for this guy on that campus I'm writing a check.

    We need more of him in this world.
     
  6. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    A wonderful, wonderful, but tragic story. And I think it deserves its own thread. RIP, Mr. Librescu.
     
  7. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Thanks for sharing zimbabwe, I never found the story in the other thread and didn't feel like sifting through 35 pages.
     
  8. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    If it's a double standard, I don't care. This is one d_b I think this board is better for.
     
  9. Claws for Concern

    Claws for Concern Active Member

    RIP. What a courageous person.
     
  10. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    In Israel, Monday was Holocaust Remembrance Day.


    I agree he deserves his own thread. What a sacrifice.

    RIP, Mr. Librescu.
     
  11. Chuck~Taylor

    Chuck~Taylor Active Member

    Really sad story. A true hero.

    RIP
     
  12. Of course, it's not enough for some.
    http://mediamatters.org/items/200704180007

    I asked before -- what IN THE FUCK is wrong with these people?
    Movement Conservatism is descending into public sociopathy.
     
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