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Lexi Lake, Location: Mayo Hall

The Day After Tomorrow

MSU, we love thy shadows

When twilight silence falls,

When I woke up that morning after a restless sleep, the familiar song of the birds chirping in the sunrise was absent. Instead, it was replaced by only a lonely crow, loud and lonesome, screaming out its caw into the still air.

Flushing deep and softly paling

O’er ivy covered halls;

Campus appeared to be frozen in time. Swat trucks stood guard at the Cowles House, squads of police cars blocked off access to West Circle Dr, and the helicopters continued their endless circles overhead.

Beneath the pines we’ll gather

To give our faith so true,

The air in my lungs had evacuated me by the time I reached the Sparty statue, beautiful and shining in the morning rays. Someone had already laid a solemn bunch of flowers at his feet, a bouquet that would soon turn into a bloom by sunset that evening.

Sing our love for Alma Mater

And thy praises, MSU.

The events of that fateful night have been permanently seared into my brain, into the hearts and souls of all who had to witness it, those who had to fear for not only their safety but for their loved ones as well. Blaring sirens and helicopter blades, the reverberations of screams and gunshots. These are sounds that never leave your psyche.

When from these scenes we wander

And twilight shadows fade,

We will burn our funeral shrouds and with the smoke still thick in our lungs, we will grieve another senseless tragedy next week. When does it end? Why must we be so afraid to step foot in our own classrooms, flinching at the sounds of cars backfiring, terrified at the implications of police sirens in the distance?

Our mem’ry still will linger

Where light and shadows played;

There have been more mass shootings than days lived in 2023. As of February 14th, 67 mass shootings have occurred in the United States*, with our school shooting only a blip on the map of tragedy across this nation. The media will move on to another mass calamity, but we will be left here to grieve our losses and heal our ever-present wounds.

In the evening oft we’ll gather

And pledge our faith anew,

There is much I do not know, and even more I cannot comprehend. Why this happened, what this means for us, and how we will go on from here. But I do know one thing for certain, and that is my overwhelming love for this school, its students, its buildings, and the memories I have made and will continue to make. This horrible event should have never happened in the first place, yet it did, and it leaves us with only one option: to remember those we lost, rebuild our foundations, and come back stronger than we were. We are resilient, we are Spartan Strong, and we will get through this, one day at a time.

Sing our love for Alma Mater

And thy praises, MSU.

*an editor's note, I wrote this piece on Wednesday, February 15th, two days after the events at MSU. While that figure was then 67 shootings, as I update this piece on Monday the 20th, the number has risen to 71. I dread coming back to this writing at the end of the year to see what the total has risen to.

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