UVALDE, Texas - May 24, 2023, marked one year since a gunman murdered 19 students and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School. The community of Uvalde, and people across Texas, remembered and honored the lives of the victims.
Gov. Greg Abbott ordered flags to be at half-staff and issued a statewide call for a moment of silence at 11:30 a.m. for all affected by the tragedy one year ago. There were various vigils held around the state.
In Uvalde, there was a butterfly release in the morning. There was also a mass of remembrance at Sacred Heart Church.
In Austin, Moms Demand Action held a vigil at the Governor's Mansion.
"This is a very somber occasion," Robin Breed, volunteer with Moms Demand Action, said. "Today we are here to honor these victims, and let them know we will not forget them, we have not forgotten them, and we're thinking of them today, and our hearts break with them today."
Surrounded by paintings of the 21 lives lost, those at the vigil went around and read each name and a little bit about each person.
"It's a beautiful morning for remembering. It's a beautiful morning for imagining of what could be," Rev. Vicki Knipp said. "I actually have some dear friends that are in Uvalde...I know a bit of what they have gone through. Those people have been blessed in a different way and have risen with a lot of personal and spiritual strength to do what they have done after this."
In the evening, the Uvalde Ministerial Alliance held a vigil in Uvalde, calling it a time for remembrance, reflection, and healing.
"We pray for the survivors, my God we pray for the children that were in those classrooms. We pray for the teachers that were in that school. We pray for the parents and siblings, those that have survived," they said at the vigil.
Wednesday was certainly a day for remembrance. Many of the affected families have turned their grief into advocacy, pushing for gun reform. A bill that would raise the age to buy an assault rifle from 18 to 21 didn't make it to the House floor.
"It was a rough legislative session, in particular the families," Breed said. "These families - we were here watching them fight so hard for the smallest change that would prevent another family from going through what they went through. We will continue to fight for meaningful gun legislation that can save Texans."
Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick issued the following statement:
"One year on from the senseless act of violence at Robb Elementary, our hearts still break for the victims, their families, and the Uvalde community. No Texas family should have to experience the grief that the families of the victims have faced. That is why this session, the Texas Senate passed the largest school safety package in Texas history and has invested substantial state resources in increasing mental health care services."