Family of toddler killed by alligator at Disney honours his third birthday

"You'll always be mommy's loving, sweet, baby boy ..."

Family and friends gathered earlier today in Elkhorn, Nebraska to remember the life of Lane Graves on what would have been his third birthday.

Lane died on June 14 this year after an alligator pulled him into a lagoon at Disney's upscale Grand Floridian Resort.

"Today Lane would have turned 3 years old, but we celebrate his first birthday in heaven with the community that has surrounded us with love and support".

"Happy birthday Lanie", said his mom, Melissa Graves. "It brings a lot of joy and happiness and it's going to be great memories for the family", says Gordon's wife, store co-owner Joy Watanabe.

Lane's father Matt also spoke tearfully at the event, which was organised by the Graves' neighbours. Everyone in attendance wore Lane's favorite color, blue. We miss you buddy and we miss those hugs and kisses.

After Lane's death, Disney World made changes to limit possible visitor contact with alligators on the property. "We sincerely thank the thousands of Nebraskans and others from around the country who have been so supportive of our family with cards, letters and acts of kindness over the past several months". It also said the alligator may have lost its fear of humans because it lived in close proximity to large numbers of people.

Rope fences with netting were installed around some waterfront areas, and "No Fishing" signs were installed.

Since the attack, Walt Disney World has built a stone wall around the lake where the toddler was attacked. "This event would not be possible without Brandi and Mike Miller who are the best neighbors anyone could wish for".

But no one was more horrified than Lane's parents, Matt and Melissa Graves, who have since had to deal with the devastating aftermath of losing their youngest child.

Family and friends wanted to hold a positive celebration.

  • Joanne Flowers