ORLANDO, FLA. (WSVN) - Local leaders and LGBTQ+ advocates joined a devastated community in Orlando to observe the sixth anniversary of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub.
The remembrance ceremony held Sunday at Orlando City Hall was one of many that dozens gathered for to pay heartfelt tribute to the 49 lives lost in the June 12, 2016 massacre that targeted the LGBTQ+ community.
Cameras captured the moment church bells chimed during a moment of silence.
“I continue to be proud of our community,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “We did not respond with hate or fear; we responded with love and with compassion and with unity.”
Prayer ribbons gifted from Provincetown, Massachusetts six years ago were once again on display.
“The ribbons dance in the wind, and I think the angels are still dancing the night away,” said Jay Critchley with the Provincetown Community Compact.
Speakers at the ceremony shared messages of hope and unity. They emphasized that change is long overdue.
“We have to do something in this country about senseless gun violence, because it continues over and over and over again, and this cannot be normal,” said Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan. “Our country is being brought to its knees, and it’s about time we started resolving our differences through kindness and understanding rather than hatred and guns.”
Also honoring the Pulse victims were the 49 crosses that were delivered to Orlando days after the tragedy. They are part of the permanent collection at the Orange County Regional History Center and have been displayed throughout the weekend.
“We want to make sure that we’re shining a light on those efforts and the days and weeks following the local community response, and the outpouring of support for those 49 individuals and all those affected by the tragedy,” said Jeremy Hileman, a representative from the history center.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered flags across the state to be flown at half-staff to commemorate the victims.
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