‘A Light to the World’: University of Virginia pays tribute to its slain students
The crowd laughed as Elijah Gaines, the team’s cornerback, told stories about how much Mr. Davis loved his hometown of Ridgeville, SC, “It felt like it was the ‘greatest city in the world.'” Mr. Gaines recalled the time he noticed the “187” tattoo on Mr. Davis’ arm and asked him if that was the Ridgeville area code. “No, it’s my exit,” Mr Davis said, referring to the highway off-ramp in that city.
Dr. Williams, relaying stories told to him by relatives of the students, described a video of Mr. Chandler as a 10-year-old dancing in a parking lot. “His rhythm was questionable, but his confidence was never in doubt,” she said. About Mr. Davis, she said he always went to church when visiting his family and insisted on sitting in the front row, despite his 6-foot-7 frame, so he could be sure she heard every word. . And Mr. Perry, who wore a red Power Ranger costume for Halloween as a kid, “didn’t take it off until after Thanksgiving.”
The service came at the end of a violent week for the country’s universities. Four University of Idaho students were found fatally stabbed in the early morning hours of November 12 at a home near the school’s campus in downtown Moscow. No suspects have been arrested. And on Saturday, authorities in New Mexico were investigating the murder of a 19-year-old earlier that afternoon on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
The Charlottesville service was held amid a threat email related to the event they received around noon, school officials said. But police said they have beefed up security at the akhada and the event went ahead without any hindrance.
Throughout the week, other sports teams at the University of Virginia honored the fallen players: the basketball team displayed warm-ups with shirts that had the victims’ last names on them. And the swimming and diving teams marked their bodies with the players’ uniform numbers: 1, 15 and 41.
The football team’s last home game of the season was to be against Coastal Carolina on Saturday, but the match was canceled on Wednesday. In a show of solidarity, former University of Virginia football coaches now at other schools — including Robert Ana and Jason Beck at Syracuse University, Nick Howell at Vanderbilt and Kelly Popinga at Boise State — stood on the sidelines of their own games wearing Virginia footballs. . dress instead of their own universities.
In an episode of his weekly podcast that aired on Friday night, former Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall joined current Virginia coaches in mourning the loss of the team.