Here’s how the city and community plan to honor the May 31 mass shooting victims

Virginia Beach Mass Shooting

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The City of Virginia Beach was forever changed by a mass shooting on May 31, 2019. Many special events planned to honor the victims one-year later had to be changed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but there are still many ways the community can reflect on that day and remember the lives lost.

During Thursday’s afternoon briefing, Gov. Ralph Northam named the 12 victims killed nearly one year ago and paused for a moment of silence.

“This weekend, we mark a sad anniversary,” said Northam. “12 precious lives were lost and four forever altered by serious injuries. They were our mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and children.”

“While the current pandemic limits our ability to come together physically, it does not limit our ability to honor the memories of those who were lost… I urge you all to wear blue this weekend in memory of them.”

At Building 2 at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, where tragedy struck, 12 flower pots are now on display, one representing each of the victims killed. There are three colors of flowers, each bearing significance:

  • Blue – Color of remembrance
  • White – Signifying hope
  • Yellow – Lighting the path

Blue ribbons hang from every window of the now abandoned building.

Lining the steps is a floral display donated by the Council of Garden Clubs of Virginia Beach.

“I hope they feel that it reflects the care and passion that the people who worked on this project felt and poured into it for a long time. I hope that they take away the sense of remembrance and that there is some comfort here as we not only reflect, but know what these people meant to us, their families and to the city,” said city spokesperson Julie Hill.

Related: Mt. Trashmore unveils tribute to victims of Virginia Beach mass shooting

Ways the community can commemorate the one-year mark

Friday, May 29:

  • Wear blue, the color of remembrance.
  • Place Forget-Me-Not display in your window for the weekend.
  • Add the Forget-Me-Not social media frame to your Facebook profile photo for the weekend.
  • Wherever you are on Friday, May 29 at 4:06 p.m., observe a moment of silence.

Departments formerly in Building 2 will be closing at 2 p.m. Friday in order to “allow employees to memorialize the afternoon in the way they think most appropriate.”

Friday, May 29 through Sunday, May 31:

  • Visit the “Lighting the Path: Together We Remember Tribute” installation at Building 2 and at Mount Trashmore Park (side of the hill that faces 264).

On Sunday, May 31:

  • At 4:06 p.m., the City will release an online remembrance ceremony that will be a tribute to the victims, their families, friends and colleagues at It will also play on VBTV (Cox channel 48 & Verizon channel 45) and
  • Plant Forget-Me-Not Flowers – If you have a green thumb, plant some Forget-Me-Nots. They’re a perennial and will bloom year after year. In general, the meaning behind this flower is remembrance and love. We adapted it, creating our own version that includes elements representing the 17 victims and the community that surrounds them.
  • Window Displays – You can show your support and honor the memories of those we lost by downloading a finished version of our Forget-Me-Not flower design or get the therapeutic benefits from coloring and creating art by downloading one of the blank coloring sheets. Just download the Forget-Me-Not symbol of your choice and place it in your window or somewhere it is visible to those passing by.
  • Leave your porch light on blue or white in remembrance.

Flag Order

Governor Northam has ordered that the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia be flown at half-staff over the state Capitol and all local, state and federal buildings in respect and memory of the victims of the May 31 shooting. The flag order begins at sunrise on Sunday, May 31 and remains at half-staff until sunset.

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