On June 12, 2016, 49 people were killed when a gunman opened fire inside Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Two years later, their loved ones and people around the world are remembering their lives with tributes, photos and memorial services on the anniversary of the tragic attack. Governor Rick Scott declared June 12 as Remembrance Day in Florida, and a service was held at the scene of the shooting, with friends, family and others writing messages to the lives lost that night.
“I remain committed to making sure our state never forgets these brave 49 individuals, that we continue to express our profound sympathy to the families who lost loved ones during this tragic event, and always remember that Florida is resilient and will endure during times of great tragedy,” the governor wrote.
Brandon Wolf, who survived the shooting, spoke at a rally for gun control on the eve of the second anniversary. “Two years ago, I was washing my hands in a bathroom sink when I heard an assault rifle fire 45 rounds in one minute. I’ll never forget the smell of blood and smoke burning in the inside of my nose. It wasn’t until after that I learned that 13 of those rounds killed my best friends. But the real crime here is that my story isn’t unique anymore,” Wolf said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Maria Wright, whose son, Jerry Wright, was killed in the shooting, told the Sentinel she had been at a dinner with friends, talking about how much her son loved his parents. “Just a few hours later, that pride was smashed and destroyed by hate and bullets. My beloved son and 48 others … were ripped from our lives. But it is becoming so commonplace, we’re beginning to accept it as normal. It is not normal for our children to die while they sit at school, eat at a restaurant, pray in church, listen to music at a concert or dance in a club.”
“We deserve better,” Wright added. “Our children deserve better. And we must let our leaders know that we expect better. … We mustn’t just lift our voice. We must roar.”
Here are the names, photos and stories of the 49 people killed in the Pulse nightclub massacre:
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
Silva was originally from Manati, Puerto Rico, and lived in Orlando, according to his Facebook page. He worked as a sales associate at Speedway. (Facebook)
Akyra Monet Murray, 18
Murray recently graduated from West Catholic Prep in Philadelphia, according to the school. “Akyra was on a family vacation to celebrate graduation and visit her brother. A recent graduate, Akyra was a superstar who was a leader amongst her classmates and teammates,” the school said. “She was an honors student whom graduated third in her class, and a 1,000 point scorer on the Lady Burrs basketball team. Akyra recently signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Mercyhurst College. May God bless …read more