SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Exactly one year ago, the city of Orlando experienced the horrors of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Forty-nine people were killed at the Pulse Nightclub and more than 50 others were injured when a gunman who declared alliance to the Islamic State opened fire inside the gay nightclub. Monday, memorials were held throughout Orlando and across the country to honor those lives taken.
Forty-nine chimes rang out Monday morning in Florida, one for each of the 49 innocent people killed exactly one year ago inside Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Thousands gathered to honor those victims.
One woman spoke at a memorial and said, “Out of the darkness Orlando rose as a beacon of light and we shine that bright light on the issues of equality and love.”
They joined in song and in prayer. Tara Connell lost her son, Cory in the attack.
Connell said, “It’s togetherness, I think and the love and support that’s going to get us through the one year anniversary and years to come.”
The evening vigil came after a full day of emotional tributes to the people killed. What started as a fun night of dancing turned into a unthinkable nightmare, when gunman Omar Mateen entered the gay night club- pledged allegiance to ISIS- and opened fire. Memorial speakers never mentioned the attackers name, but instead focused on victims and survivors and spreading love and kindness.
Melissa King- a friend of a victim said, “They were people, they were someone’s loved one. They matter just like everyone else matters.”
Part of the healing included promoting equality and embracing the LGBTQ community, which was targeted in the attack.
Orange county, FL Mayor Teresa Jacobs said, “I can tell you candidly that 10 years ago, I could never have imagined that we would be able to fly this flag.”
Uniting together to find strength after horror and spreading their message that love always wins.
The doors never opened at Pulse again. Eventually the site will become a permanent, national memorial to honor the victims and survivors.