This is a true American Idol – a man who will be remember not for what he did for himself, but rather that which he did for others.
They came to Blacksburg, Va., from all over the country — and all over the world. They came to study and they came to teach. They had plans. They had friends. They had families.
As the list of confirmed victims in Monday’s massacre on the Virginia Tech campus grew, so too did the number of stories about the individuals who fell victim to the gunman, 23 year-old Cho Seung-Hui of Centreville, Va.
There was Liviu Librescu, 76, an engineering science and mechanics lecturer. Born in Romania, he survived the Nazi Holocaust and emigrated to Israel in 1978 before moving to Virginia in 1985.
An Israeli citizen, he had taught at Virginia Tech for 20 years and was internationally known for his work in aeronautical engineering.
“His research has enabled better aircraft, superior composite materials, and more robust aerospace structures,” said Ishwar Puri, the head of the engineering science and mechanics department.
After surviving the Nazi killings, Librescu escaped from Communist Romania and made his way to the United States before he was killed in Monday’s massacre, which coincided with Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Librescu’s son, Joe, said his father’s students sent e-mails detailing how the professor saved their lives by blocking the doorway of his classroom from the approaching gunman before he was fatally shot. “My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee,” Joe Librescu said from his home outside of Tel Aviv. “Students started opening windows and jumping out.”
Wow. – Brad
** Updated 4-19 1:15 PM
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