Orlando marked three years since the Pulse nightclub shooting with speeches about love, local performers singing tributes, and rainbows on top of rainbows, both artistic and literal.
Local leaders, first responders, and survivors of the Pulse shooting gathered at the former nightclub site late yesterday.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings read a proclamation marking June 12th day as “Orlando United Day”-a day of love and kindness.
Former Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma updated the crowd on plans to transform the site into a memorial and museum. The names of the 49 victims were read.
But it was a well-timed act of nature that captivated both the crowd and the speakers, including Mayor Buddy Dyer.
The rainbow symbols adorning the temporary memorial and emblazoned on the “Orlando Strong” T-shirts of many in the crowd was echoed by a real rainbow in the sky.
“It would not be a Pulse remembrance if we didn’t have a rainbow,” Dyer said.
Rainbows have appeared during the memorial in previous years, leading one attendee to whisper, “Our angels are with us.”
In the ceremony’s closing blessing, Rev. Terri Steed of Joy Metropolitan Community Church in Orlando reminded the crowd how the city pulled together three years ago, lining up to give blood and reaching out to those who were grieving.
And she called for continuing in this spirit of “Orlando United” in order to sustain a supportive community focused on kindness and positive change.
“May we forever be shining examples that love trumps hate,” Steed said. “We will not let hate win here at Pulse. We will not let hate win in our city. We will not let hate win in our state. And we will not let hate win in our world. Love wins here.”
Governor Ron DeSantis visited the memorial earlier in the day. Check here to see video of the ceremony.