Hundreds of people showed up Monday night to honor the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting on the six-month anniversary of the attacks.
Two ceremonies took place to remember those who were lost in the shooting, and to honor those who survived. The Orlando Sentinel reports that one of the ceremonies took place at the Orange County Regional History Center Monday afternoon. Another ceremony for family members and survivors took place outside the Orlando, Fla., nightclub at 2:02 a.m., the time the shooting began.
Monday afternoon’s ceremony at the history center included speeches by community leaders, performances by musicians and a reading of the names of the 49 people who were lost in the tragedy.
According to the Sentinel, 49 people dressed as angels held candles. Sisaundra Lewis, a former contestant on The Voice, sang a song she wrote for the Pulse victims called “Applause, Applause.”
"We will never, ever forget them," Lewis said. "We will support those of you who are wounded, and we are going to continue in this work."
Pulse co-owner Barbara Poma told the Sentinel that the past six months have felt like six years.
"My heart feels the depth of sadness like it was yesterday," Poma said. " … Where do we go from here? What do we do? We have only one way to go: forward."
Carlos Carbonell, a representative of an alliance of nearly 30 LGBTQ groups that are serving families of victims and survivors, as well as others who need help, told the Sentinel that the community still has “a lot of healing to do.”
"Whether you want to make a difference in the life of a gay teen, want to impact trans people or communities of color, or [are] interested in political action, there are places for you to place your grief and organizations for you to help," Carbonell said.
The early-morning ceremony at Pulse was attended by family members of the slain and injured, as well as some of the survivors. They held up multicolored stars with the names of each of the victims and set up tall white candles in a pulse pattern on the ground near the entrance of the club. The Sentinel reports that the names of the victims were read at this ceremony as well, and afterward, each candle in the arrangement was lit.
Charlotte Davis told the Sentinel that she used to frequent the club and knew several of the people who were killed.
"It's very difficult to be this close to a scenery that's normally full of life and joy and happiness and for it to now be a scene of sorrow and pain and grief, but definitely a lot of love, it's definitely hard," Davis said.
Read more at the Orlando Sentinel.