Orlando Sentinel publishes emotional tribute on anniversary of Pulse massacre

Illustration: Yahoo News; Photos: Newseum.org
Illustration: Yahoo News; Photos: Newseum.org

“I just wish June 12 never happened,” reads a quote on the Orlando Sentinel’s front page today, just above a collection of colorful candles. On the bottom, there’s a list of 49 names.

The names are those of the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando last year, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. On Monday, Florida newspapers including the Sentinel published emotional tributes to the victims. “Love Prevails,” the Tampa Bay Times proclaimed. “A legacy of healing” Florida Today said.

In addition to the 49 victims, more than 50 people were injured at the LGBTQ nightclub. Police eventually exchanged fire with the lone gunman, Omar Mateen, and killed him.

Since the attack, the local Orlando and worldwide LGBTQ communities have memorialized and honored the victims and survivors of the shooting through vigils, stories and art.

In a tribute titled “Dear Orlando,” project creator Robert X. Fogarty documented those who lived through the attack — survivors, victims’ relatives and first responders. In his powerful photo series, Fogarty allows the individuals who are still coping with the memory of the attack to share their stories in their own words.

“I wish they could have answered their phones,” a first responder wrote.

“I went to the bedroom, and he wasn’t there,” a mother of one of the victims said.

On June 12, on the recently declared “Orlando United Day — A Day of Love and Kindness,” Orlando will honor the victims and their legacies at various ceremonies throughout the day. Earlier on Monday, hundreds gathered in a private service for friends and families of the victims. At noon, several local churches will ring their bells 49 times, once for each of the victims.

The site of the Pulse remains a public memorial, draped in flowers, tributes to victims and scrawled messages of love and hope.

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