One year ago today, a terrorist attack claimed the lives of 49 attendees at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, and the tragic event took place during PRIDE month, one that recognizes and celebrates America’s LGBTQ population and its allies.
Early Monday, hundreds reportedly gathered at the nightclub to remember those who lost their lives. In addition to those killed, at least 68 people were injured.
The names of the victims were read aloud at 2:02 a.m.—the time the June 12, 2016 massacre began.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, a private ceremony for family members was also held at the venue, which is now being converted to a private memorial. Dozens of mourners dressed as “angels” stood outside.
“It’s totally different now. It’s like all the terrifying and awful memories I had have been replaced with tonight, with this unity and all this love,” Ramses Tinoco said during the memorial. “We’re all still grieving but this gave me some closure. I could smile and remember the 49.”
He vividly recalls hearing gunshots while in the club and running for his life.
“It’s really hard to be here. I was running from this for such a long time,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Marie Cobbs, who lost her nephew. “I can’t help but feel angry. I just keep asking why. Why did this happen? I was trained to protect our country and I couldn’t even protect my family. He was so young and had so much life left to live.”
Honoring the memories of the Pulse shooting victims extended beyond Orlando. People took to social media to remember those who were affected by the senseless tragedy.
— Shaun Dakin (@UsefulPrivacy) June 12, 2017
— Joey Civil (@Joey15a) June 12, 2017
— #PrayForOrlando (@BeLEAFingWithJB) June 12, 2017
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) June 12, 2017
Prayers for everyone affected by this unnecessary and devastating attack.