Three years ago today was the worst day of my life. We lost 32 Hokies, including one of my sister's best friends, Leslie Sherman. Leslie was an extraordinary person and was going to do great things in the world. Her spirit still lives in everyone who knew her.
Three years ago Sunday, the Nationals took the field donning Virginia Tech caps. This was not a planned event. In fact, it came together at the last minute. Marc Carig of the Washington Post had this to say:
With about 90 minutes before first pitch, Harolyn Cardozo, executive assistant to General Manager Jim Bowden, was on the phone calling sporting goods stores. She dialed the number to the Sports Authority's store in Alexandria, and when she heard a voice, she had one simple demand: "Give me the smartest guy in the store who can get something done fast."
Paul Schneider, a department manager, soon was scouring the store for Hokies hats. Cardozo asked for 40 of them and they needed to be at the stadium before the Nats took the field. Schneider found about 20 on the rack and discovered a box full in a storeroom. He talked his managers into donating the 38 hats of various styles, then jumped in his car to cross the Wilson Bridge and weave through rush-hour traffic to get to RFK.
Fifteen minutes before the first pitch, Major League Baseball gave the team approval. Schneider arrived at the stadium during the first inning, and the caps made it to the Nationals' dugout in time for the team to take the field with them for the second inning.
Kasten arrived at the ballpark an hour into the game, surprised the hats had arrived. The gesture was similar to one by the Yankees and Mets when baseball resumed play after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Players from both teams donned hats representing New York's police and fire departments.
While the Nats lost 6-4 to the Braves, this was still by far the best thing they have done since being in DC. Thank you once again, Nationals. We'll never forget this.
Please spend a moment or two today remembering the victims of 4/16.