Thursday, April 19, 2007

There are heroes amongst us!

Recently, everyone is focused on the news of Virginia Tech Massacre. Korean student, Seung-hui Cho, fatally shot 32 people and then killed himself in the Virginal Tech Campus on Monday (April 16). This is the most brutal shooting incident in history. Each person he shot had at least 3 bullet wounds.

This is really sad and the whole world is in sorrow. :'(
It is in times like this that people begin to question the existence of God. Why does God allow this to happen?
It is also in times like this that we see the goodness in people and notice the heroes amongst us.

When Seung-hui Cho was shooting in classrooms, some students and professors act quickly using tables as barricade against the door to prevent the killer from entering. A professor (Liviu Librescu) even sacrificed himself to save his students. These are normal people like us. If this shooting incident didn’t occur, students might still be in campus complaining that their professors are mean in marks. If you are Liviu Librescu, are you willing to sacrifice your life to save others? I think everyone should focus on these noble acts instead of focusing on the killing.

We don’t have shooting incident everyday. Thanks God! However, we can also be a hero. Instead of sacrificing your life to save others, are you willing to scarify your time to help others??


Hero 'had no fear'
Liviu Librescu survived the Holocaust and tyranny

JERUSALEM — As a child, Liviu Librescu survived the Holocaust. As an adult, he escaped Romania's Communist rule.

But it was only in the last moments of his life that the Israeli professor was recognized as a hero, sacrificing himself to save his students -- using his body to block the door of his engineering classroom as Cho Seung-Hui tried to shoot his way inside.

"He showed that kind of bravery throughout his life, so it doesn't surprise me at all," his son, Joe Librescu, reflected.

"He had no fear. Not in doing the right thing, especially with regards to his work and his students," he said from his home in Ranana, a sleepy suburb of Tel Aviv.

Yesterday, the Librescu family was finalizing funeral arrangements for their 76-year old father, a mechanical engineering professor and well-regarded scientist who refused to retire after 20 years of teaching at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

"He could never concede retirement. He loved his work too much. He was too passionate to quit," his son said.

Joe and his brother Araya spent yesterday morning sifting through e-mails sent from students of their father, painstakingly piecing together the final moments of his life.

It was 9 a.m. on Monday morning. Prof. Librescu was in his second-floor classroom in Virginia Tech's Norris Hall, launching into a lecture on solid mathematics.

A series of shots rang out from an adjoining classroom, followed by screams. Prof. Librescu rushed to the door and held it shut. His engineering students dived for cover behind their desks.

As the sound of gunfire drew closer, his students searched for a way out. Some climbed on desks, pulling down the window screens to kick out the glass, jumping three metres to the bushes below.

In a letter addressed to Prof. Librescu's wife Marlena, one student described how he climbed out the window, but paused on the ledge to look back.

"I saw your husband still standing there. He was holding the door closed and looking over his shoulder to make sure everybody else was safe. It was the bravest thing I have ever seen and I will always remember his courage," the student wrote.

Another simply wrote: "I think he saved my life."

Prof. Librescu was fatally shot, and died on his classroom floor. But by the time the gunman managed to get inside, most of his students had escaped to safety.

His sons described their father's final act of bravery as an honourable end to a courageous life.

Prof. Librescu was born and raised in Romania.

During the Second World War, his family was interned in Transnistria, at a labour camp set up by the Romanian government with the help of Nazi Germany to exterminate the Roma people and Jews.

Prof. Librescu was 10 at the time -- among 200,000 people crowded into crude barracks without running water, electricity or latrines. His family was later deported to a central ghetto in the city of Focsani.

"That experience helped shape his character.

"He saw people who gave their lives for others in difficult times. He knew what it meant to help others," said his son, Joe.

Mr. Librescu survived, and eventually married Marlena, another Holocaust survivor.

He studied in Bucharest, earning his doctorate and gaining a reputation as an accomplished scientist.

In 1978, the couple immigrated to Israel over objections from Romania's Communist regime. He was granted permission to leave only after Menachem Begin, the Israeli prime minister, personally appealed to Nicolae Ceaucescu, the Romanian president.

In 1984, he moved with his wife to Virginia for his sabbatical, and chose to stay.

But he returned to Israel frequently for family occasions and holidays.

Yesterday, his two sons who live here recalled their father's connection to the country.

"He always considered himself as an Israeli. He saw himself as an ambassador to the United States, but an Israeli at heart," Joe said.

His body will be flown to Israel for a family burial some time next week.

From Globe and Mail

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