Peace can prevent future tragedy

The sun shines today, the air is still. A poetic silence moves through the grass and I wonder how many blades there are, how many individual stems swaying and folding-their slow waltz with the earth and with each other. One leaning on her best friend, another on his girlfriend, yet another against a stranger. I think to myself how perfectly they all fit-some in the arms of those they love, others whose backs have bent against each other for some time now, never able to see each other’s eyes.

They can be so different, these strangers. One could have grayed with age, eyes lowered into the green of his chest. While the other might be trimmed a lighter shade, stubborn for tilting so long into the sun. Their worlds are half of the horizon. The sun only sets. The sun only rises. Yet, they lean against trust and lack of understanding-it is the two that hold them up. It is this thought of faith in one another that sustains them.

Maxine Hong Kingston once wrote, “Peace begins with thought. Thoughts enworded go from mind to mind, and mind makes the world. Peace, illusive, abstract, negative Yin, dream, would take a long writing-out to make real. Its book has to be longer than war books -longer than a bumper sticker, longer than a sound bite.”

Today our American flag flutters at half-mast: our heartbreaking indication of loss. As we search for peace amid this world of tragedy we find more of the same. More hate, more destruction, more pain. So as families cry tonight, I write, and in writing I try to understand. We all try to understand why peace has forever evaded our world.

Today, we are all victims of ourselves. For today, once again, it took tragedy to show us that we are all the same. We all laugh, we all smile, and we all cry the same. On Monday, 32 lives were cut short; 32 lives we all must live for.

As I question motives and search for meaning in the deaths, I am full with anger, yet also with life. An anger of uncertainty, an anger that longs for reason juxtaposed to the life of thought- the ability we have to envision peace. This peace, Kingston said, “Has to be supposed, imagined, divined, dreamed.” Yet within ourselves, these thoughts will not stand until they find faith between each other.

Those we love and those we will never know-all of our lives and all of our dreams lean against one another. Alone, like blades of grass we are destined to falter. So maybe it is time to stop questioning our lack of understanding and start questioning ourselves. Peace begins with a thought, but it is spread through our conviction in each other.

For those who lost their lives at Virginia Tech: may you find peace as we continue our struggle for faith.

Corey Ciorciari is a sophomore majoring in international studies and creative writing. He may be contacted at