By Philip C. Selz
TheWideAwakes Website
Cross Posted at GM´s Corner
April 22, 2007

I wrote this poem today about Mr. Liviu Librescu, who survived the holocaust and saved the lives of 8 or 9 students at Virginia Tech on Monday, April 16, and died from gunshot wounds. I read it at our synagogue this evening and the Rabbi suggested I distribute it to as many places as I could. I hope it touches you like it touched me as I wrote it. Thanks.

In the darkest times we´ve seen, I was sent into the camps
As I smelled the stench of burning flesh, I knew my kin were gone
Survival was my only thought, I knew I must come through
But I didn´t know the reason that my living must go on

And when the war had ended, liberation finally came
And I grew to be a man and shortly after took a wife
And we raised our kids in Israel and we did the best we could
And we lived for those who died and worked to make a useful life

Then a teaching job came to me in America one day
And I thought that building new young minds was destiny for me
So I traveled to Virginia and I made a brand new start
And I taught engineering in this homeland of the free

Now I hear the hallways screaming as shots are fired there
And I hear the terror in the screams and understand their plight
So I bar the door from danger and I tell my students “Run!’
And as the bullets breach the door I know that I must fight

And in these final moments as my life is seeping out
I think back over 60 years and finally understand
My own salvation now makes sense as children flee and live
I was saved that day to save this day, I´ve finally made my stand.

[An editorial writer reflects on the Virginia Tech shootings]
By Brian Lewis
StatesmanJournal  Salem, Oregon
Sunday, April 29, 2007


I  remember
as a child
I worshiped my father
and now he's dead.
He  loved life, was passionate about it.
And he knew death, knew the stench of  it.
But never did he fear it.
He knew it too well.
He knew that  fear was worse than death.
He never forgot
Ha Shoah.
Gas ovens,  firing squads, mass graves.
And it never ends.
What was a 23-year-old  punk with a gun
to him?
He stood in the door,
he took five shots.  
And he told his students to live.
Jump out the windows and live.  
He died so they might live.

I never thought of my father
as a  religious man.
I thought of him as a Jew.
I thought of him as my  father.
And now my mind flashes back
to scenes from the movie  Gladiator.
A general who became a slave,
slave who became a gladiator.  
We, a people enslaved,
we've become a mighty nation,
And I,
I am  the son of a murdered father,
cousin to a murdered nation.
It never  ends.

They want us dead again.
Iran, Iraq, the Palestinians.
They  want to kill my brothers,
my sisters, my children, my wife.
What did  the warrior say?
My name is Maximus  Decimus Meridius,
Commander of the Armies of the North,
loyal servant  to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius.
Father to a murdered son, husband to  a murdered wife.
And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the  next.
Father to a murdered son. Son to a murdered father.  
Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife.
And I will have  my vengeance, in this life or the next.

Except, except I will not.
I  will not have my vengeance.
I've had enough death.
I will be  vulnerable.
I knew a man once who  said,
Death smiles at us all.
All a man can do is smile back.  
And so I smile.
I remember everything.
I remember lines  
from that movie.
What we do in  life,
echoes in eternity.

And so I will do something with  my life.
And I will remember.
I will make my father proud.
I will  savor every moment.
I am because of him.
I live because of him.  
And so do they.

He told his students to live.
Jump out the windows  and live.
And I know
they will live and
they will  remember.

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