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Orlando nightclub shooting: City stands still to remember one week after Pulse massacre

Orlando remembrance

Tens of thousands of people in central Florida have paused to remember the victims of the Orlando shooting, one week after the massacre took place.

An estimated 50,000 people attended a candlelit vigil at a lake in central Orlando on Sunday, where the names of the victims who died in the Pulse nightclub were read out.

People chanted “We remember them!” after the names were recited at Lake Eola Park.

The park was filled with people holding white flowers, American flags and candles. Several people held signs offering free hugs.

At the end of the vigil, the crowd chanted “One Orlando,” “Orlando United” and “Somos Orlando,” Spanish for “We are Orlando.”

Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were injured during the attack – the worst mass shooting in American history. The gunman, Omar Marteen, was killed in a shootout with police.

A man cries while his friends comfort him as they take part in a vigil for the Pulse night club victims following last week’s shooting in Orlando.
A man cries while his friends comfort him as they take part in a vigil for the Pulse night club victims following last week’s shooting in Orlando.

Earlier in the day Florida governor Rick Scottspoke during services at the First Baptist Church of Orlando, one of the area’s largest churches.

Scott said people had come together in the wake of the tragedy that targeted “two very vulnerable populations.”
Forty-nine seats were blocked off with rainbow-colored balloons tied to them as Orlando’s professional soccer team honored the victims at a game between Orlando City and the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.

Players stopped the game at the 49th minute of play for a moment of silence to honor the 49 people who lost their lives during last week’s massacre.

Fans also created a rainbow in the stands by wearing coloured shirts coordinated by sections.
Church bells rang in downtown Orlando and patrons at nightclubs paused for a moment at 2am to commemorate the deaths.

Supporters of the victims of the recent mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub attend a vigil at Lake Eola Park.
Supporters of the victims of the recent mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub attend a vigil at Lake Eola Park.

At the Cathedral Church of St Luke the pews were full for the funeral of Pulse victim Christopher Andrew Leinonen.

The 32-year-old Leinonen was with friends, including Brandon Wolf, when Mateen opened fire.

Wolf managed to make it out alive. He said Leinonen changed his life.

A man sits by Lake Enola as he takes part in a vigil for the Pulse night club victims.
A man sits by Lake Eola as he takes part in a vigil for the Pulse night club victims.

“He laughed at my worst jokes and he never missed an opportunity to remind me just how much he loved me.”

He called Leinonen “the fun, he was our social glue, he was also the one who loves us the most, he is the one who taught me that no matter who I am or what I do, I am perfect in my own way.”




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About the author

Sydney Chesterfield

Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Humanitarian, mad lover of children and unflinching fighter for equality on all grounds viz. Women's rights, child rights, sine die.

Twitter: @syd_field