MIAMI SHORES, FLA. (WSVN) - Days before the Fourth of July, officials in several South Florida cities said they will replace firework displays with tributes to the lives lost in Surfside following a partial condo building collapse.
The holiday is typically a time filled with fireworks and festivities, but after the June 24 tragedy at Champlain Towers’ South building, for many residents, it doesn’t feel like a time for celebration.
“Right now, I don’t think it’s much time to party,” said Miami Beach resident Antonio Urdaneta.
Neighboring cities and municipalities — including Bal Harbour, Aventura, North Bay Village and Miami Beach — are cancelling their firework shows and events out of respect for the families impacted by the tragedy.
“We sort of felt it just didn’t make any sense in the world, to be hosting these vibrant celebrations, even about America, while there are so many people feeling incredible grief, anguish and uncertainty,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
Instead, Gelber has asked city residents to join in on a moment of unity Saturday night.
“We’re asking people, I think at 9 p.m., to just to turn on a light: a cellphone light, candle, flashlight or whatever it is,” he said. “This is an expression that we’re with you, to the extent – to make people feel a little bit better.”
Some residents and visitors said they appreciate the mayor’s decision.
“I think right now more than ever, we need to take care of our buildings, our community, our neighbors and do what’s right,” said Urdaneta.
“I know there are a lot of people trying to celebrate something, but the damage it caused to all those families is much higher; it’s much bigger,” said Victor Scavoni, who is visiting from Brazil.
Miami Shores has also cancelled its fireworks show on Sunday. The village will instead hold an 8 p.m. candlelight vigil at the Miami Shores Country Club.
“It’s a time to reflect and pray for our neighboring community of Surfside,” said Miami Shores Mayor Sandra Harris.
Since the disaster, many people have paid their respects to the victims in the form of tributes, church services and makeshift memorials.
The candlelight vigil in Miami Shores will be open to the public.
For more information about Fourth of July events in South Florida, click here.
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