HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. – "When I saw him in the hallway, he was always smiling. I just saw him the day before," Makayla Pulliam, the organizer of Tuesday's vigil at Halifax County High School for 16-year-old Jacob McBride, said.
Pulliam and dozens of others who knew and loved McBride struggled to hold back tears as they gathered around his parking spot at Halifax County High School Tuesday morning to remember him.
"It just makes everybody realize how much someone cares about you and how much they'd do for you," Pulliam said.
Jacob committed suicide last Thursday.
His family didn't want to talk about the circumstances surrounding his death.
His father, Adam, wanted people to instead focus on the family's message. The family believes social media could give parents a warning when their children are troubled.
"Pay attention to the social media sites. We were not very good at that," Adam McBride said. "Kids say things to one another and they ask for help to each other. I think it's important for every parent to talk to their children about this and be prepared to get them help if they need it."
During the vigil, friends sang songs, shared memories, and wrote messages in Jacob's parking spot.
An American flag was zip-tied to metal posts.
A symbol, his brother Zachariah said, of Jacob's ingenuity and patriotism.
Jacob was a member of the ROTC and was planning to enlist in the military after high school.
"He had a true mechanical gift and he could fix or do anything with zip ties and duct tape," Zacariah said, smiling.
Perhaps his greatest gift, though, is the memories he created with so many people.
According to the Parent Resource Program, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for young people 10-18 years old and four out of five of those children gave clear warning signs.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides emotional support for people in crisis. That number is 1-800-273-8255.