Finding Their Way Back to Life

After a mass murder, a college town tries to mark a tragedy without being defined by it

Hector Emanuel for TIME

Stones draped with flowers and beads at a memorial for shooting victims on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. on April 19, 2007.

Will there come a day, graduating senior Anthony Della Calce wonders, when people see him proudly wearing a Virginia Tech cap without immediately thinking of death and sorrow?

Can Blacksburg, Va., go back to being a place where people leave their doors unlocked? asks philosophy professor Joseph Pitt.

Ashley Turnage, a third-generation Hokie, nods as her husband Neal, sports editor of the student-run website Planet Blacksburg, says, "We don't want to change. We like it the way it always has been."

No school or town could absorb the mass killing of April 16 without scars. But as the students and townies here...

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