Friends, family and the Charlottesville, Virginia community gathered at the Paramount Theater today to remember the life of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman killed during violence that broke out at the alt-right’s “Unite the Right” rally on August 12. You can watch a full replay of the funeral, which lasted over an hour, above.
The memorial program included speeches from her father, Mark Heyer, and her mother, Susan Diane Bro. Heyer was born in Charlottesville and grew up in Ruckersville, where she attended high school. According to her LinkedIn account, she was a paralegal. She is also survived by her step-father, Kim Bro; brother Nickolas Heyer; and her grandparents.
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her,” Bro told the audience.
Heyer was killed when a car drove into a crowd of counter-protesters. A suspect, James Alex Fields Jr., has been charged with second-degree murder.
Heyer’s Facebook page showed that she was a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Her last Facebook post was a quote, which read, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”
Mark Heyer Said His Daughter ‘Wanted to Put Down Hate’
In his speech, Heyer’s father Mark Heyer told mourners that his daughter wanted equality for all and begged Americans to “forgive each other.”
“She loved people. She wanted equality. And this issue of the day of her passing she wanted to put down hate,” Mark Heyer said through tears. “We just need to stop all this stuff and forgive each other.”
Mark Heyer previously told Florida Today that his daughter was a “strong woman that had passionate opinions about the equality of everyone – and she tried to stand up for that.” He added that, “With her, it wasn’t lip service. It was real.”
“People need to stop hating, and they need to forgive each other. And I include myself in that, in forgiving the guy that did this,” Mark Heyer told Florida Today. “He doesn’t know no better. You know, I just think of what the Lord said on the cross. Lord forgive him, they don’t know what they’re doing.”
In an interview with CNN, Mark Heyer said his daughter had a “bigger backbone than I did.”
‘This Is Not the End of Her Legacy,’ Susan Bro Told Mourners
Mourners at the event wore purple, Heyer’s favorite color. Through tears, her mother told the crowd that her daughter’s legacy did not end with her death.
“This is not the end of Heather’s legacy,” Susan Bro said. “You have to find in your heart that spark of accountability. I don’t want you to turn away. I don’t care. You poke that finger at yourself and you make it happen. You take that extra step. You find a way to make a difference in the world.”
Bro said she was very proud of her daughter for standing for what she believed in, while the crowd applauded.
“We are going to have our differences. But let’s channel that difference not into hate, not into violence, but into righteous action,” Bro said. “Those conversations have to happen. That is the only way to carry this through.”
In a previous interview with the Huffington Post, Bro said she wanted her daughter’s death to be a “rallying cry for justice.”
“She always had a very strong sense of right and wrong. She always, even as a child, was very caught up in what she believed to be fair,” Bro told the Huffington Post. “Somehow I almost feel that this is what she was born to be, is a focal point for change. I’m proud that what she was doing was peaceful. She wasn’t there fighting with people.”
President Trump Said Heyer Will Be ‘Long Remembered By All’
As the memorial got started, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Memorial service today for beautiful and incredible Heather Heyer, a truly special young woman. She will be long remembered by all!”
Trump has been criticized for his multiple reactions to the events in Charlottesville. Hours after the car attack, Trump said there was violence “on many sides” and did not mention Heyer’s death. He did tweet his concolences, writing, “Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!”
Trump did mention Heyer by name during his Monday statement, when he did condmen white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK.
“Two days ago, a young American woman Heather Heyer was tragically killed,” Trump said. “Her death fills us with grief, and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers and our love. We also mourn the two Virginia state troopers who died in service to their community, their commonwealth and their country.”
But during his Tuesday press conference, Trump reverted to his Saturday stance that there was violence and there were “very fine people” on both sides.
Trump also said on Tuesday that he planned to reach out to Heyer’s family after Bro thanked him in a statement.
“The mother’s statement I thought was a beautiful statement,” Trump told the press. “It was something I really appreciated. I thought it was terrific. And under the kind of stress that she’s under and the heartache she’s under, I thought that putting out that statement to me was really something I won’t forget.”
Funerals for the 2 Police Officers Killed in the Helicopter Crash are Planned for Later This Week
Heyer was one of three people killed on Saturday in Charlottesville. Virginia State Troopers Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates and Lt. H. Jay Cullen were killed in a helicopter that was shooting video of the event.
Bates funeral is scheduled for Friday, while Cullen’s will be on Saturday.
The Washington Post reports that NTSB investigators found there was no distress call before the crash. It happened at about 4:44 p.m., when officials first got a 911 call reporting the crash. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he knew both men.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” McAuliffe said. “The best of the best in state police.”