4 years after the massacre: Millions of people remember the victims of Orlando

On Friday it was the fourth anniversary of the terrible massacre in the LGBT club “Pulse”. Hundreds of people gathered on Friday evening to pay their respects to the victims of the attack, in which 49 people died and 53 were injured.

Also this year – despite the corona pandemic – a memorial ceremony was held at which 49 bells rang – one for each victim of the attack. Robin Maynard-Harris, initiator of the “49 Bells” movement, said that around 700 churches from 16 countries had joined the bell on June 12 in the past three years.

While many gathered at the site of the shooting, which is now a memorial, thousands of others followed the official online memorial service organized by the OnePulse Foundation.

“While today we would have preferred to be with our Pulse family and the community at the Pulse Interim Memorial in person, with the current COVID spread and our social distancing guidelines, this is simply not possible,” said Earl Crittenden, CEO of OnePulse.

Speaking at the social media-broadcast ceremony was Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, 61, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who turned 61 on June 12, and Orlando-born Broadway star Norm Lewis. The “Pulse” owner Barbara Poma also had a say at the online event.

Foto: dpa Picture-Alliance

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In 2016, the “Pulse” massacre sparked expressions of solidarity around the world. As here in Berlin, thousands came together for commemorative events and lit candlesFoto: dpa Picture-Alliance

Family members read out the names of the 49 victims

“People come to the memorial to reflect and mourn. To show respect and learn, ”said Poma. “They want to know what happened here, and they should do it too.”

Family members who lost loved ones also attended the online ceremony. They read out the names of the 49 victims of the attack. An hour later, St. Luke’s Methodist Church also held an online vigil for the victims.

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Photo: Imago

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During a vigil in Los Angeles for the victims of the massacre, a man lights a candlePhoto: Imago

Many survivors gathered around the memorial in Orlando yesterday to comfort one another. “Peace and love – and love always wins,” said India Godman, who escaped the shooter on June 12, 2016 with her son. The corona pandemic actually brought her friends from the tragedy closer together, “at least emotionally,” said Godman.

“Remembrance is always preserving memory. It’s about what you take away from it and that you keep moving forward. We have done that for the past three years. “

And meanwhile in recent years a rainbow has always appeared after heavy rain showers during or immediately after the memorial ceremonies, the sky remained clear this year. Crittenden urged all mourners to be the rainbow themselves this year and to “shine brightly”.

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