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Tim Kaine's Filibuster Speech Touches on "Hero" Virginia Tech Professor


Just after 11 AM on Wednesday, June 15th, Democratic Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy seized the Senate floor and embarked on a nearly 15-hour long filibuster in order to secure a vote on gun-control legislation.

He was joined by more than 35 of his colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, including both of Virginia's Democratic senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

Virginia's senators are among those who saw tragedy happen in their state multiple times, both pointing to the Virginia Tech mass shooting that happened on April 16th, 2007, while Kaine was governor (Kaine succeeded Warner, who would launch his Senate campaign in September 2007).

One of the more emotional moments from Kaine's speech included the story of Virginia Tech Aerospace Engineering professor Liviu Librescu. 

Librescu, who was 76 when he was killed on April 16th, 2007, was born to a Jewish family in Romania. He survived the holocaust when most of his family did not, and chose to stay in Romania through the rest of the war and subsequent Soviet takeover. He was forced out of academia for refusing to pledge his allegiance to Romanian Communist Party, but eventually emigrated to Israel in 1977. He was offered a one-year teaching fellowship at Virginia Tech in 1985, but renewed his contract year after year and had remained in Blacksburg until his death.

On April 16th, when the gunman attempted to enter the room in which Librescu was teaching, he held the door shut, allowing his students to flee through a window. He was eventually shot and killed.

Kaine points to the irony of the day Librescu died: April 16th, 2007, marked the conclusion of the Jewish holiday of Yom HaShoa - known in English as Holocast Rememberance Day.

Kaine concluded his time on the floor with, "Would I do that? Would I stand in front of a door and block it and take bullets and tell my students to get out the window? Would I do that? I can't honestly stand here and say that I would. I can't say that I would have the courage of Librescu.

But in this body we don't have to be heroes; we just have to not be bystanders." 

You can watch this portion of his speech below.

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