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Parents of toddler killed by gator at Disney speak publicly for first time

The beach area  of the Walt Disney World's Grand Floridian resort hotel is seen where a 2-year-old boy was taken by an alligator as he waded in the waters of the Seven Seas Lagoon.

The beach area of the Walt Disney World's Grand Floridian resort hotel is seen where a 2-year-old boy was taken by an alligator as he waded in the waters of the Seven Seas Lagoon.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Parents of the toddler who was killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World in Florida say they will always remember their sweet little boy.

Melissa and Matt Graves spoke to a group of several hundred people gathered at a high school football stadium Saturday to remember Lane Graves on what would have been his third birthday.

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

The Omaha World-Herald reports that Melissa Graves said the family wanted to celebrate Lane’s “first birthday in heaven.”

“Happy birthday Lanie,” said his mom, Melissa Graves. “Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like to speak but, my baby, I owe it to him to honor him. So his mommy needed to say, ‘Happy birthday Lanie. You’re in our hearts today and every second of every other day.’”

Matt Graves said Lane’s life brought the family so much joy. The crowd wore blue shirts and released blue balloons into the air.