For my fallen sister

Allison Smith

Dear Sandy,

As I sit here trying to write this, I find it very hard to put yesterday’s events into words. I suppose what they say about sororities is true: “From the outside in, you can’t understand it, from the inside out, you can’t explain it.”

So what would I say if you were here? I wish it were easy.

Last fall I rushed and joined Alpha Xi Delta, of which you were a member. Before I joined, I did not participate in the events commemorating May 4. Before I joined, I did not even know your name.

Yesterday was the 39th anniversary of your death, along with Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller and William Schroeder. The day you died, you were 20, my age.

As I sat through the speakers yesterday, I could not help but think how very not different I am now from how you were. I imagined myself walking across the green on a sunny day. Walking to class. Simply walking to class.

So I wonder, were you in a rush to make it to class that day like I often am? Or were you enjoying the company of your friend on a beautiful day?

Every year, your sorority sisters gather around your parking space in the Taylor Hall parking lot. The camaraderie of our sisters both comforts me and breaks my heart. I wish you could be standing among us. I wish you could have came to our Founder’s Day a few weeks ago and shared your wisdom of life outside university with us.

As we waited for the ceremony to commence, I looked around the circle at my friends and sisters. I cannot imagine what your active sisters had to deal with in the days after your death. I wondered, what would I do if one of my sisters died? How would I react? I cannot even fathom it.

It angers me that they shot at you. All you were doing was walking to class. I don’t care whose fault it was. I don’t care that the protesters were throwing rocks. I don’t care that the National Guard was throwing tear gas into the crowd. All I care about is one of my sisters was killed, and she wasn’t even part of the protests. That is the injustice in this tragedy.

We keep your things in a display case at the sorority house: your scrapbook, BetXi Bear, gifts from fellow sisters. We walk right by the display case all the time, too enwrapped in our own lives to take time to remember our fallen sister. As one of those who walks by without a thought, I feel guilty.

However, we cannot dwell on the past, and I am sure you would want us to live our lives without sadness on your part. So I will remember you when I can. I will celebrate your life on May 4. And I will live on for you.

“We know our joys and sorrows, we share our smiles and tears. We hope we’ll be together throughout the coming years. All this we have in common in our fraternity. Our dear Alpha Xi Delta, we raise our hearts to thee.”

Sandy, you will always be my sister.

Xi love, and mine,


Allison Smith is a sophomore pre-journalism major, member of Alpha Xi Delta and news correspondent for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].