While I may disagree with most of Virginia politically, I love my state. I must. It would be far easier to cross the river and live in Maryland, which is more aligned with my politics, than to advocate for the statehood of Northern Virginia. But I can’t do it.
I love that our state history is our nation’s history. Jamestown. Williamsburg. Mount Vernon. It means that an entire year of my children’s lives will be spend on learning something useful. As a child, my husband learned about the significance of cow patties for heating and building in the great state of Nebraska. Or something like that.
I love that Virginia has seasons, and that the seasons lean warmer than the seasons in, say, Nebraska. We usually have a little bit of snow, but not a lot. April is usually short-sleeve weather, and the sweatshirts don’t come out until October. Pool season starts in May and ends in September, and I’m not talking about your teeth-chattering, “shrinkage”-inducing, cold-water pool season either.
I love that when you drive through Virginia, you see a lot of green. There are no billboards along state highways (except around Norfolk, and I’m not sure why), and for large stretches of the drive on I-95, it seems like there is nothing at all. Other than the weekend traffic (sometimes) and the slow drivers in the left lane (all too often), it’s a pretty pleasant drive across the state.
I love that Virginia has mountains and beaches, urban areas and farmland, battlefields and water parks. I love that my kids can get in-state tuition at a number of top-notch colleges. William and Mary. University of Virginia. Virginia Tech.
I don’t even know what to say. This school is so much a part of my vernacular. I’ve grown up and lived here tossing around that university name. I know kids who went there in the past. I know families who are looking at it for their college-bound students. I know people who graduated from there.
The shooter was from my Northern Virginia. His parents live in a town in the western suburbs. The towns being mentioned in the news are places I know. Centreville. Chantilly. They’re not meant to be towns with national attention.
It’s not Virginia’s tragedy. It’s a nation’s tragedy. I understand that. But like our nation’s history starting in Jamestown just weeks shy of four hundred years ago we’ll have to share.