One year later: Thousands gather to honor Pulse victims

Gil Mendez
Gil Mendez, of San Francisco, holds a sign to honor the victims of the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla., as he marches during the Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington, Sunday, June 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Orlando, FL (WSAV) — Thousands gathered in Orlando Monday night to remember the victims killed in the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since 9-11.This marks one year since 49 people lost their lives in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla.

Aliyah Proctor of Orlando remembers Pulse Nightclub well. She said, “I used to go to that club and I felt that was a safe place, you know, for the LGBT community. It’s heartbreaking.”

Proctor and so many others in the crowd of thousands know that it was hate that triggered the shooting last year, but it’s love that’s bringing all the people this memorial service for the victims.

Rocky Rivera recently moved to Orlando from Savannah. She told News 3, “We’re not afraid. It’s just building a stronger to make sure that we have a safe community for everyone around us.”

Many at the memorial service Monday say, if the goal of the shooter was to divide the community, his actions have had the opposite effect.

Steve Brooks, a member of the Orlando gay Chorus said of the shooter, “He is somewhere, down somewhere looking up at all of this probably frustrated as hell, because it just had the exact opposite of fact. It pulled people together.”

Proctor also talking about the community coming together in a tough time. “It definitely strengthened the community, by far… We’ve come to gather as a community and instead of being separated by our sexual orientation. So you’ve just made it a stronger LGBT presence in the whole nation.”

That memorial service at Lake Eola had a rain delay, but the people braved the weather to show their support for the victims. Eventually the site where the Pulse Nightclub once stood will become a memorial park, celebrating the lives of the victims.

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