Virginia Tech Hero

librescu.jpgLiviu Lebrescu died yesterday at Virginia Tech. He urged his students to escape through the second floor windows while he blocked the door with his body. They all escaped, but the he was shot to death by Cho Seung-Hui. Lebrescu survived the Holocaust as a Romanian Jew and later managed to escape from Ceausescu’s dictatorship to Israel.  The Dean of the engineering department described him as, “an exceptionally tolerant man”.

Again we ask what it is that makes people perform the heroic deeds in these situations. Did his survival of the Nazi persecution of the Jews lead to a personality that understood the importance of life? Did he feel he had lived a long life and wanted that for his students? Did he perform daily heroic actions that became a habit?

One Response to Virginia Tech Hero

  1. Charles D. Leibrand April 18, 2007 at 11:07 am #

    I don’t think that it was any of those things really. I think he was an individual he took responsibility for his students, that responsibility prompted him to do something, any thing to save them. He made a moral choice and acted on it and there is the difference. We all make moral choices but when push comes to shove do we act on them? Do we stand and say “No, I believe this is wrong”? What separates hero’s for the rest of us is the willingness to act on those moral choices. Liviu Lebrescu had face evil before and presumably acted when necessary. He was prepared for this instance by acting though out his life and accepting the consequences. On April 16, 2007 Liviu Lebrescu chooses not to be a hero, rather he chooses to act on his values. It cost him his life in exchange for those of his students.

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
    Edmund Burke

    Charles D. Leibrand
    April 18, 2007