We Must Never Forget The Beautiful Souls Lost One Year Ago In The Pulse Shooting

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Our Loving Memorial To The 49 LGBT Victims Of The Pulse Nightclub Shootings In Orlando
Buzz, Heartbreak

#OrlandoStrong

It's been one year since the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

On June 12, 2016, at 2:02 AM EST, 49 beautiful souls were lost, 58 other beautiful people were wounded.

And we were all left with the terrible nightmare of senseless hate that painful night forever engraved in our memories.

None of us will — or should — forget the massacre that destroyed the lives of so many people and so many families, along with our hope that we were finally close to our dream of living in a society that would be safe and welcoming to those in the LGBTQ community.

 

RELATED: 5 Things Survivors Of Pulse Want You To Know Before You Honor The Tragedy

 

As an Orlando native myself who has many friends in the LGBT community, I will never forget the days following this tragedy.

I vividly remember what it was like to wake up and see my phone blowing up with text messages, emails and Facebook messages from friends and family members trying to reach me to make sure I was ok.

I was dumbfounded, as I still had no idea what had happened or why everyone was so concerned.

And then I turned on the news.

My heart sank immediately and I became sick to my stomach as I watched and listened to various media outlets releasing the names of those who hadn't survived the shooting over the course of the day. As smiling, joyous photos of each victim's face lit up the screen tears streamed down my own as I prayed silently that I wouldn't recognize anyone.

 

RELATED: What Parents of Straight Kids Will NEVER Understand About Orlando

 

I began frantically messaging my friends and co-workers to make sure they were safe, then turned to scanning Facebook for signs of those who didn't respond, constantly checking and re-checking to see if they would mark themselves as "safe."

Fortunately for me, I didn't lose any friends or loved ones that night, but I know so many others who did.

Neighbors in my apartment complex. Peers in my classes at school. People in my local grocery store.

And while none of us who live here in Orlando will ever forget that day, the one good thing to come out of this tragedy was a deepened sense of communal unity. We came together as a city to cry out against hate and terrorism through an outpouring of love and support for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

Now, exactly one year later, we continue to do exactly the same as we honor those we lost and celebrate our survivors.

Hate will not prevail. Love always wins.

To the 49 souls we lost — we love you, we honor you, and you will never be forgotten.

One love.

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