At least 50,000 people flocked to downtown Orlando on Sunday to pay homage to victims of last week’s mass shooting.
Chanting “We remember”, “One Orlando” and “Somos Orlando”, which is Spanish for “We are United” they marched to Lake Eola Park, the main venue of the candle light vigil.
A rainbow appeared on the sky as large number of people carrying American flags, flowers and candles flocked to the park.
The day began early for Orlando. Church bells rang at 2 am, the time the gunman Omar Mateen began his shooting spree in Pulse Night Club in down town area on 12 June. Patrons of bars and night clubs observed a minute’s silence in memory of those dead.
49 people were killed in the massacre that started when the gay bar was closing for the day. The assailant was gunned down by the police who stormed the night club two hours after the shooting began.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was overwhelmed by the number of people who filled the park, Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer
“Wow, Orlando,” Dyer told the throng. “You’re showing your love, your compassion, your unity.”
One of the first to speak he also stated that “We will not be defined by the hate-filled act of a deranged killer.”
Teresa Jacob, Dyer’s counterpart from Orange County said the events of the past week was so “profound that it felt like healing would be impossible.”
“Every person that was lost was the fabric of our community. Each person’s life was a beautiful story — a story that was so cruelly and abruptly ended. Each had dreams waiting to come true. Each had aspirations left unfulfilled …”
She also reminded the LGBT community that love will prevail and they are not alone in their fight.
“To our LGBTQ community, I tell you today that you are not alone. You are not alone in your sorrow and you are not alone in this fight.”
A large number of Muslims had also participated in the vigil. they held out bills and placards condemning the violence.
At the end of the candlelight vigil, the names of the 49 victims were read out.