Today marks the first anniversary of the Orlando massacre, a mass shooting in which members of our LGBTQ community lost their lives inside Pulse Nightclub.
A giant rainbow flag will be flown over the Orange County government building for the day, while flags across Florida will be flown at half-mast.
A closed service for survivors, local officials and club employees was held overnight to mark the exact time of the attack, which took place around 2 AM on the morning of June 12.
Orlando Mayor Bobby Dyer said:
June 12 was the darkest day in our City’s history and a day that will forever be reserved to honour the memory of the 49 innocent lives taken from us too soon. This tragedy has deeply impacted our LGBTQ+, Latinx, other communities of colour and our entire City.
Since the morning of June 12, 2016, we have come together to honor the victims, support their families and the survivors and thank our first responders in so many ways.
Following the Pulse tragedy, we showed the world that Orlando would not be defined by the act of a hate-filled killer, but instead defined by our response of love, compassion and unity. I am so proud that we are Orlando United.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott said:
The horrific terror attack at Pulse attempted to rip at the seams of our society, strike fear in our hearts and divide us. Yet, in the face of extreme adversity and loss, Floridians showed resiliency, bravery and love. Over the past year, our state, the city of Orlando and the many Floridians affected by this tragedy have shown incredible resolve as we continue to mourn the loved and lost.
As we pause to honour the 49 victims of this tragic attack this Monday, my wife and I will say a prayer for each of them and their families.
We will also be reminded of all the people who helped others in need. The law enforcement officers, first responders, medical personnel, faith and spiritual leaders and Central Florida families defined what Florida is all about. We care about each other and we came together when it was needed the most.
This was an attack on Orlando, our state, the Hispanic community and on the LGBTQ community. It left a solemn impact on our state that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.”
A number of events are being held throughout the city Monday, including two remembrance ceremonies for the general public at the club at 1912 S. Orange Ave.
Guests scheduled for the 11 a.m. event include the Orlando Gay Chorus, Mayor Buddy Dyer, Mayor Teresa Jacobs, the Rev. Terri Prayer, some of the first responders and live music.
The evening service at 10 p.m. at Pulse will feature songs, prayers, inspirational dance, reflection and music.
An event called Orlando Love: Remembering Our Angels is also set for the Lake Eola Park Amphitheater at 7 p.m. and will feature musical performances and remarks by community leaders.
The expanded One Orlando Collection and Digital Gallery will be open at The Orange County History Center from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. Admission is free.