Finding Meaning in the Virginia Tech Massacre


  • Author Felice Block
  • Published June 28, 2011
  • Word count 314

As a child of Holocaust Survivors, I know too well the results of insane acts of evil.

The only sense I can make of my own family's tragedy is to validate history and work towards healing others. My father is now 81 years old.

On September 11th, 2001 he and his wife (also a holocaust survivor) were in a taxi on their way to the airport as they watched a plane crash into the World Trade Center. Today, they watch the news vigilantly, hearing about massacres and war on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, inhumane tragedies continue to occur on a daily basis. Amidst the continued tragedy, how can we insulate our families and ourselves? How can we make sense of the senseless?

These are not easy questions and require intense personal reflection. Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and holocaust survivor, believed the path to healing is through finding personal meaning.

Each of us has a choice as to whether that meaning will contribute to the break down of humanity or will instead improve the human condition.

The Virginia Tech massacre can be the impetus to ask ourselves and our children critical questions like:

"How can I bring emotional security and a sense of belonging within my own family?"

"How can I include others who are alienated and isolated?"

"How do I embrace differences in others?"

"How can I model kindness and sensitivity?"

"What can I do to make my family and community a safer haven?"

"How can I continue to strengthen belief in a higher power in spite of continued acts of inhumanity we hear about daily?"

Last year my father danced like a teenager at two of his grand children's weddings. He and his wife educate children in schools about the Holocaust. He has found his meaning.

The tragedy at Virginia Tech has strengthened my passion to help others through my work. What is your meaning?

For more information about Felice Block, MA, LCPC, please visit her website at to learn about her counseling, public speaking, and training services.

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