New Book Memorializes Sentiments Expressed on Beta Bridge About Nov. 13 Tragedy
Just days after the tragic deaths of three University of Virginia football players, third-year student Graham Bucko went to Beta Bridge to leave a message of condolence.
Bucko wrote, “May we lead lives that honor their memory,” for Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr., three football players slain on a bus after a field trip on Nov. 13. (Two other students, Mike Hollins and Marlee Morgan, were wounded but survived.)
In the days that followed the tragedy, students by the thousands converged on the bridge that since the 1970s has served as a canvas for Cavaliers to mark events both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Throughout November, the number of handwritten messages on the bridge swelled as students tried to process how something so personal and awful could happen to their classmates on Grounds.
Recognizing both the lasting importance of the emotional messages and the temporary nature of them on Beta Bridge, the Office of University Communications carefully documented the memorial messages. A set of those photographs has now been selected to create a photo book that chronicles the sentiments written on the memorial.
Copies of the book, “Forever in Our Hearts,” have been given to the deceased students’ families and teammates so they will have a lasting, tangible keepsake of the outpouring of love and lament for the three young men. Printed editions of the book are not planned to be offered for sale; however a digital edition of the book for viewing and download accompanies this article.
Its first page quotes President Jim Ryan from remarks delivered at the Nov. 19 memorial service for Chandler, Perry and Davis, held at John Paul Jones Arena: “Despite all of this, life beckons nonetheless. We can and will move forward as a community, provided we move forward together.”
The book concludes with words from Director of Athletics Carla Williams, also delivered at the memorial service:
“To the families, we love your sons. We love your sons. And we will make sure their legacy never fades at the University of Virginia.”
Although the weather may physically fade the names and the messages, or they may eventually be covered with different messages, Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr. will never be forgotten – nor will their classmates’ words about them.
Download a PDF version of the “Forever In Our Hearts” book.