Formal and informal acts of remembrance dotted Grounds today, as events were held and students sought to remember the lives of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, the three student-athletes who lost their lives one year ago.
Throughout the day Monday, students had the opportunity to write messages on a banner on South Lawn. Messages included words of remembrance such as “rest in peace,” “forever in our hearts” and “fly high,” as well as other messages of support.
The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy hosted a panel titled “Beyond Boundaries: A Dialogue on Healing From Gun Violence,” to discuss healing from gun violence.
Happy Perry, mother of D’Sean Perry, was one of the five panelists, all of whom had personal experience with gun violence. The panelists discussed their own experiences, memories and hardships healing from gun violence, with an emphasis on the important role that community bonds play in people’s lives.
The University Chapel’s bells chimed to the tune of “Amazing Grace,” at 12:55 p.m., followed by three tolls in honor of the three lives lost. Hundreds of students gathered to observe a moment of silence for several minutes after the bells rang.
In a video message to the University community, University President Jim Ryan asked everybody to pause their day for the moment of remembrance.
“Nothing can bring back Devin, Lavel and D’Sean. But we can honor them, as well as Mike and Marlee, by remembering,” Ryan said. “We can honor them by holding those who are still grieving close to our hearts. And we can honor them by supporting one another.”
Flowers were placed in various memorial spots around Grounds, including at the memorial tree and plaque near Culbreth Garage which was unveiled Sept. 8. The tree and plaque were intentionally placed close to Culbreth Garage — the site of the Nov. 13 shooting.
“The University of Virginia family will forever remember these young men, their illustrious accomplishments and the legacy they have left behind for the community that held them in such high esteem,” the plaque reads.
A memorial for Chandler, Davis Jr. and Perry can be found at Scott Stadium. In the weeks and months after the shooting, the University and football community provided an outpouring of support for the football team. The three men became honorary draftees in the 2023 National Football League draft. Family members were invited onstage to hold the jerseys of their favorite teams with their names and numbers on them.
At the 2023 football season’s home opener against James Madison University, a special pregame ceremony was held in honor of the three players, and the University’s jersey has included a legacy patch with their numbers on it. Families of the deceased were invited onto the field as part of the “U.Va Strong” ceremony, named for the slogan that was used as an expression of unity and support after the shooting.
Over the past year, Beta Bridge has included the longest-standing message in the bridge’s history, complete with messages of remembrance, grief and support. There have been ongoing conversations as to the future of the installation, with some proposing a permanent but smaller message on the bridge.
A photo book was designed by the University to commemorate the works of remembrance that covered Beta Bridge in anticipation of the tradition of impermanence that the bridge holds. Families of the deceased were all given copies.
In addition to the larger message, Beta Bridge is covered in smaller, handwritten messages of remembrance, support and advocacy. In lieu of paint, students brought sharpies and other permanent markers to leave their messages.
A student-organized candlelight vigil was held outside of Old Cabell Hall at 7 p.m. Monday, amassing hundreds of people who gathered to remember Chandler, Davis Jr. and Perry. The event was reminiscent of a similar vigil held last year, the day after the shooting.
Other events Monday included open houses for students and faculty, as well as several private events or informal memorials across Grounds.