Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "a soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon." If the proliferation of different-colored ribbons I have seen and worn this year is any indication, then my peers and I have certainly fought the good fight.
I think of this theme on this day, April 16th, as my heart goes out to two of my good friends who, Virginia Tech alumnae themselves, lost loved ones in the massacre one year ago today. We honored them last spring by wearing orange and maroon ribbons pinned to our chests for over a week. A silent symbol which proved our solidarity.
Months later, I woke up one lazy Sunday morning to hear that several students from my campus were dead, killed in a beach house fire. For this occasion we students wore black ribbons pinned to our chests, an outward sign of our mourning. Those brothers and sisters of the students who were killed wore their colors pinned to their clothes for weeks, the cheerful Tri-Delta blue and yellow, the regal SAE purple and gold.
Just a few weeks ago when another student died here, tragically, his fraternity house was emblazoned with a giant black and gold ribbon.
We wear ribbons for other things too. Red for AIDS or heart health awareness, pink for breast cancer. I received a purple one for domestic violence awareness week just yesterday.
I don't have anything particularly profound to say about all these multi-colored ribbons. I have been proud to show my support for causes I care about, and I have been moved by banding together with my fellow students in recent times of trial.
I do hope that next year I will not have to wear quite so many ribbons.
As a footnote to this little essay, if you have not read 19 minutes by Jodi Piccoult please do. I think she has some interesting things to say about how we treat each other.