May 31, 2019.
That was the day a gunman killed 12 people, seriously wounded 4 others and terrorized hundreds more during a shooting rampage in Building 2 of the Municipal Center in Virginia Beach.
City officials unveiled their plans for remembering the victims – but that, too, needs to be adapted to the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Lighting the Path: Together We Remember” reflects input the city received from employees, family members and others to create meaningful tributes to the victims and their families as well as everyone who bears the scars of that day, according to a news release.
The plans include a variety of activities that allow people to remember and reflect in their own ways and on their own time.
“This is a very difficult time. In the midst of a pandemic, reflecting on the worst day in the history of Virginia Beach seems even more daunting,” said Acting City Manager Tom Leahy. “Still, if I’ve learned anything in my four decades with this city, it is this – we persevere. We grow. And we continue to put one foot in front of the other, even when that feels almost impossible. Our goal with these activities has been to honor the memories of those we lost a year ago and the incredible contributions they each made to our lives and our city.”
The city has created a specially designed symbol based on the Forget-Me-Not flower that includes elements representing the 17 victims and the community that surrounds them. The explanation of that design as well as details for the at-home and ceremonial activities planned beginning May 29 are included on the newly redesigned LoveForVB.com memorial website.