Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Out of the Darkness, Light

I see that the New York Times is already politicizing the massacre at Virginia Tech by calling for more gun control. I have to admit I'm tempted to weigh in, but won't do so. The victims haven't even been identified. I guess that's not going to stop the Times, but respect for the dead requires that their families be allowed to bury them before they're exploited by political opportunists.

Here, however, is a story of heroism at Virginia Tech that deserves to be read. I picked this up off the Claremont Institute's blog via Powerline:

And Yet There Are Heroes

It's important to see heroism in tragedy, too. A 77-year old Aeronautical Engineering professor who survived the Holocaust in Romania moves to Israel and comes to America on sabbatical. He decides to stay here. He adopts this country as his own, and helps save America by saving Americans--by putting himself between the gunman and his students. He survived Hitler and died in Blacksburg, but he died a hero.

Israeli professor of Romanian origin Liviu Librescu numbers among those killed in the Virginia Tech University massacre on Monday. According to the International Herald Tribune, Librescu sacrificed his life to save his students. He had blocked the access to the his class so that students can run from the attacker.

Librescu, 77, was teaching at the Virginia Tech University for 20 years.

Israeli media also announce the death of Liviu Librescu. The online edition of the Jerusalem Post reports that he was shot to death, while ynetnews.com writes that he was killed during his attempt to block the access to the class.

Alec Calhoun, a student who witnessed his death, told the Associated Press that he saw his teacher blocking the door to the class while some of her colleagues were hiding, while others were jumping out of the window.

The professor had been driven to school by his wife less than an hour before he was shot.

AP writes that his wife Marlina and sons Arieh and Joe have already started to prepare for his burial in Israel.His daughter-in-law Ayala has said the professor was very passionate of his work and a dedicated family man, while University colleagues described him as a "real gentleman".

Liviu Librescu graduated the Politechnical University in Bucharest in 1952 with a specialization in aeronautical engineering. In 1972, he received the Traian Vuia Award of the Romanian Academy of Sciences.

In 1979-1886 he served as mechanical engineering professor at the Tel Aviv University.

According to ynetnews.com, he and his wife were survivors of the Holocaust who immigrated to Israel from Romania in 1978.

The-then communist regime in Bucharest did not allow him to leave the country, but that became possible after Israeli PM of the time, Menachem Begin, pressed Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu to let him go.

Several years later he left for the US. He has teached mechanical engineering at the Virginia university since 1986.

He was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa of the Politechnical University in Bucharest In 2000.

Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

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