On November 13 at 7 pm, UVA students, faculty, and Charlottesville community members gathered on the Lawn to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the tragic shooting that took the lives of our peers, UVA football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D’Sean Perry.
By 6:45 pm. hundreds of students had already joined the lines wrapping around South Lawn despite the 40-degree weather, waiting for their turn to take an orange ribbon and a candle to place on the steps of Old Cabell Hall. We were silent, almost reverent, as we stared at the flickering plastic flames, flowers, and 1-15-41 sign lovingly placed on the steps. One by one, students stepped forward to place their candles and sit on the cold, damp grass.
Despite the heavy, near-tangible sadness of the event, I felt an odd sense of kinship with my fellow students whose faces, shadowed by hoods and caps, I couldn’t even see. I didn’t recognize anyone, but through the silence I could hear an echo of the mourning of last year, brimming with fear, shock, and anger. However, even stronger was the sense of community and resilience that arose from the tragedy, as we students turned to one another for understanding and comfort and, perhaps unexpectedly, found it.
The shooting was and is an unspeakably horrific event. It goes without saying that it will continue to affect UVA students for years to come as we confront the evil in the world. I know that the reverberations of November 13, 2022 are still ringing in my ears. The hundreds of students who attended the commemoration event despite the cold and darkness surely feel it as well.
May we never forget.