Liviu Librescu: Inspiration in a moment of Darkness
The story of Liviu Librescu is perhaps the most inspiring thing to come out of the Virginia Tech massacre, which abounds with stories of personal bravery in the face of death, and self-sacrifice in order to protect others. But none compares to the story of Liviu Librescu.
Prof. Librescu was born and raised in Romania. He survived the Holocaust, and ended up in the States in 1986. Having survived one of the darkest periods of human history, and confronted with another appalling horror, he sacrified his life so nine of his students might live, holding the door shut while gunman Cho tried to force his way in.
The honor and human decency exemplified by Librescu, the simple human integrity and compassion in a man who had seen the worst humanity could dish out, is a testament to the power of human optimism, the strength of human compassion.
It would have been reasonable for Prof. Librescu to attempt to flee with his students. Or to feel that he had already paid his dues at the altar of human cruelty. His act of self-sacrifice, of stewardship for his students honors professors, Jews, human beings, everywhere. I stand in reverence.