We Are #VBStrong

by | Jul 8, 2019

On May 31, our community was changed forever. In the days that followed, we worked to process vast ranges of emotion, trying to piece together how this could have happened in our beloved beach town.

As we all struggled to make sense of something so horrific and unexplained, there was an outpouring of support shown by our entire Coastal Virginia community. Buildings across the region were illuminated in blue. The hashtag #VBStrong was displayed prominently—on digital highway signs, painted on rocks, drawn on sandwich boards, printed on T-shirts and bumper stickers.

People flocked to the Municipal Center, to the site where memorials were assembled for each of the 12 victims: Laquita Brown, Tara Gallagher, Mary Gayle, Alexander Gusef, Katherine Nixon, Richard Nettleton, Christopher Rapp, Ryan Keith Cox, Joshua Hardy, Michelle ‘Missy’ Langer, Robert Williams and Herbert Snelling. Loved ones and strangers placed flowers, stuffed animals, notes of encouragement, significant items that allowed a glimpse into the lives of those people who never got to go home to their families that day.

From the outside, we may be another city dealing with the aftermath of a mass shooting. But we’re more than a statistic. We’re a community that cares, a widespread yet close-knit group of individuals mourning together and figuring out where to go from here. As individuals, we’re processing undeniable feelings of vulnerability, grief, anger and confusion. Together, we’re checking in on our friends and neighbors to ask how they’re doing. Together, we’re raising funds for the victims’ families. Together we’re wearing blue in an unspoken message of solidarity. Together we’re #VBStrong.

Photo courtesy of the City of Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach mass shooting
Photo by David Uhrin

VB Strong Memorial
Photo courtesy of the City of Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach tragedy
Photo by David Uhrin

Love for VB

#VBStrong, Mount Trashmore

Virginia Beach students make cards for tragedy

VBStrong Rock

VBStrong Hearts
Photos courtesy of the City of Virginia Beach

Rest in Peace hat, Virginia Beach tragedy
Photo by David Uhrin

Virginia Beach tragedy
Photo courtesy of the City of Virginia Beach

VBStrong on the Highway
Photo by Shelby Frank

Hampton Coliseum with blue lights for Virginia Beach tragedy
Photo by Peter Squicciarini

American flag, VBStrong

mourning the victims of the Virginia Beach tragedy

mourning after the Virginia Beach tragedy

American flag, Virginia Beach tragedy mourning

Virginia Beach tragedy memorials

Virginia Beach tragedy mourning
Photos courtesy of the City of Virginia Beach

City and lifestyle magazine celebrating the Southeast Virginia region and its unique charm, customs and ways of living

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