Good Deeds | Children | Uplifting

Disney Unveils A Memorial For The Child Who Was Killed By An Alligator At Their Park

It was a shocking event that made headlines around the world, but more than a year later it has been almost forgotten.

The scene at the Grand Floridian the night of the accident.Boston Herald

The Graves family - Matt, Melissa, their daughter and their 2-year-old son Lane - were visiting the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on a sunny day last June.

Lane had wandered down to the edge of the lagoon to gather some water for his sandcastle when an alligator bit the little boy's head and dragged him into the water.

His father was attacked by another alligator trying to rescue Lane, but it was no use. Soon the Graves family's tragedy was an international news story, and it kicked off a huge debate over who was responsible for Lane's death.

Lane Thomas GravesFind a Grave

While Disney had signs warning not to swim, there was no notice about the alligators. But authorities ruled Lane's death an accident, and his parents said they would "solely be focused on the future health of our family" and wouldn't sue.

Find out how Disney has changed the park, and about the new monument, on the next page!

The Graves have been mostly silent since that day, rarely speaking publicly, except at a heartbreaking event marking Lane's 3rd birthday last September.

The Graves family.NBC News

"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," his father Matt said. "Melissa and I often speak of how lucky we were to have spent two years, 11 months and 11 days as a complete family."

Lane and his sister.Seguin Today

To honor their son's legacy and make the world a better place, the Graves family set up the Lane Thomas foundation, which assists the families of children who need organ transplants.

“Losing Lane has broken our hearts in the worst possible way," his parents said in a statement. "While there is no way to mend our hearts, we can do good work in his honor.”

In recognition of National Lighthouse Day, please see the lighthouse created to honor our loving boy Lane. 💙

Posted by Lane Thomas Foundation on Monday, August 7, 2017

For the same reason, Disney has placed a new monument to Lane's life near the spot he was attacked. The memorial is a statue of a lighthouse, the symbol of the Lane Thomas Foundation.

The park has also put new reptile warning signs up since the accident, as well as a rock wall around the lagoon. Hopefully, Lane's tragedy won't repeat itself any time soon.

Share this story with someone you know!