June 12th marks seven years since the horrific mass shooting at LGBTQ+ nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine innocent lives were taken that night in one of the worst mass shootings in the United States and one of the most horrendous acts committed against the LGBTQ+ community. At the time, it was the worst mass shooting in American history, but the following year, the number was exceeded as 58 people were killed and over 850 injured at a music festival in Las Vegas.
“After seven years, our hearts remain broken from the senseless act of violence that took the lives of 49 innocent people and injured so many others,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. “It is comforting to know that our community has not forgotten the pain and suffering of the families and survivors, for it is the only way that love will prevail over hate.”
In front of City Hall in Orlando, prayer ribbons with the names of all 49 victims are draped between two trees, with messages from their loved ones. On the afternoon of June 12th, many are expected to gather to remember this tragedy. Some people have already come to pay their respects with balloons, candles, and photos of the victims.
Singer Shane Evan Tomlinson was one of the 49 lives that were lost in the shooting. His father, Steve Tomlinson said: "Since the Pulse tragedy, we make a conscious effort every single day to focus on how Shane lived his life and the joy that he brought us instead of how he tragically departed from us.”
Many of the survivors of the Pulse shooting have been demanding gun reform laws for years, a very pressing issue as a solution to prevent these mass shootings has yet to be found. Following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in May 2022, Pulse survivor Orlando Torres stated: “I’ll believe it when I see it because we have been screaming for this for mega years. It’s a shame. Look what it had to take the latest shootings. Innocent little children that were 9, 10 years old.”
The families of those lost in the Pulse shooting hope to have a permanent memorial and museum this year. There have been issues in agreeing with the onePULSE Foundation and the nightclub's owners. Prices for this plan have increased, and the foundation continues to search for a better location for the memorial.
The commemorative event will occur at Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center in downtown Orlando instead of at the Pulse nightclub. The victims’ loved ones and first responders, and leaders of the Orlando community will be in attendance. The event will take place at 7 pm. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is requesting for all flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset out of respect for the victims, their loved ones, and many others who have been affected by this tragedy.
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