Saturday, April 21, 2007

The ultimate sacrifice.

With any highly publicized tragedy containing multiple deaths, there are usually selfless heroes who prevent further losses of lives. Whether it was the NYPD and NYC fire fighters on 9/11 or the Coast Guard in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, we have been able to glean the positive aspects in what were otherwise horrific events.

The Virginia Tech massacre this past Monday was no exception.

We have heard ad nausea the story of the shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, and how he methodically carried out the cold-blooded killing of 32 people before taking his own life. The mainstream media has played constantly the homemade video footage of Cho and his sickening “manifesto.”

In my mind there should be just as much coverage, if not more, of the heroic actions of one Virginia Tech professor.

As Jews worldwide honored on Monday the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust, a 76-year-old survivor sacrificed his life to save his students in Monday's shooting at Virginia Tech College that left 33 dead and over two dozen wounded.

Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter when the man lecturer was shot to death, "but all attempted to enter his classroom. The Israeli mechanics and engineering the students lived - because of him," Virginia Tech student Asael Arad - also an Israeli - told Army Radio.

Several of Librescu's other students sent e-mails to his wife, Marlena, telling of how he had blocked the gunman's way and saved their lives, said Librescu's son, Joe.

"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu said in a telephone interview from his home outside of Tel Aviv. "Students started opening windows and jumping out."

As mentioned in the story, Prof. Librescu was a Holocaust survivor. Having been interred at a Nazi concentration camp more than sixty years earlier, Librescu I’m sure recognized pure unadulterated evil when he saw it. Since he probably figured his demise that day was imminent, he spared others the same tragic ending.

After last Monday, there are at least fifteen additional families who are grateful Librescu cheated death more than sixty years ago.


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