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Loss, disbelief and heartache at Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech massacre will forever change the landscape in the commonwealth. But the Hokie spirit will not be defined by this, Marty Smith writes, because it will persevere.

Updated: April 29, 2007, 6:13 AM ET
By Marty Smith | ESPN.com

The Virginia Tech tragedy has consumed me, exhausted me emotionally to a degree I hadn't felt since I lost my mom eight years ago. Katrina was awful; 9/11, too. But for me this is worse. This hits home, most literally.

I grew up in Pearisburg, 15 miles from campus. My dad is an alumnus. My sister got her master's degree there. I attended Radford University, 8 miles down the highway. Back home we love God, family and football. Good players at the high-school level are celebrities. Great ...

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