by Hoda Kotb, Dateline correspondent and Virginia Tech graduate
Virginia Tech is where went to college, it's where my brother went to college, it's where my sister went to college. We all went there and the decision was a no-brainer. There wasn't another school in the country we wanted to go to.
Today, I'm wearing orange, one of Virginia Tech's colors. The school colors are actually maroon and orange. I remember in college, and we didn't love the color scheme— we thought the two colors clashed. Today, there is not another color I would rather be wearing.
When most people think of Virginia Tech, the very first thing that comes into mind is sports: football and basketball. All you would see during Virginia Tech's football season was a sea of maroon and orange. You would hear the chant in the crowd. I can still hear it in my head, "Hokie, hokie, hokie high...Tech, Tech V-P-I."
When you go to Tech, it's in your blood. I think of the kind of camaraderie and the pride -- they call it "hokie pride." It sounds corny, but it is how proud the students are of their school.
I never imagined that this is the way Virginia Tech would likely go down in history. I know everyone says that about their town: "Not my town, my town is a little town," or "It would never happen in my neighborhood."
But Virginia Tech is a place away from the big cities. It is away from the big city problems, away from all of it. It felt insulated. It felt safe. I never felt uncomfortable walking on that campus.
Then to hear what happened at Tech today, at my school. I couldn't believe it—I still can't.
It was all just so surreal today to see the images on television. You can't help but look at those images. I have a girlfriend that's a professor there. Was that her being carried out on a stretcher? Is she safe? I have friends who work on campus, friends in the communications department.
The school always meant something really warm and fuzzy to me. Today, I have a horribly sad feeling.
But I'm really hopeful because out of the worst tragedy, you watch people rise up. And it will happen on the campus of Virginia Tech.
Those students will rise up. I'll bet on that.