On June 12th, the community remembered the 49 innocent lives lost, their family and friends, as well as those who were physically injured and those who bear the deep emotional scars of survival. The community also extended their support for the Pulse family, Pulse Nightclub owner Barbara Poma and the LGBTQ, Latino and Hispanic communities.
In addition to the tributes, Orange County Government, the City of Orlando and the Historical Society of Central Florida through the Orange County Regional History Center announced the launch of the One Orlando Collection, digital gallery. Orange County’s Regional History Center proudly remains the guardian and entrusted caretaker of more than 5,000 memorial and tribute items, which were meticulously collected and preserved by curation staff in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy.
While these items remain under the careful watch of the History Center, approximately 600 images of memorial items will be made available online to the public at www.OneOrlandoCollection.com. The digital gallery includes photographs of items collected at various memorials in the wake of the tragedy including the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, Orlando Regional Medical Center, Pulse Nightclub and Lake Eola. This gallery provides a first glimpse at these items since the History Center retired them from the public memorials. The online gallery also allows loved ones, near and far, to see the many displays of compassion, support and love received from across Central Florida and the world – in the wake of Orlando’s most difficult days.
The digital gallery features a navigation tool that allows guests to search for artifacts by individual name or memorial, giving family and friends the opportunity to see many of the tribute items left in honor of their loved ones. The gallery is intended to help capture the stories behind the artifacts including where the items came from and what the tributes represented to those who left them at the memorials.
“The tragedy of Pulse and the heartbreaking loss of 49 lives is a permanent part of history – it’s a story that will always be told,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “Through the One Orlando Collection, we have the chance to tell the other side of the story – how our community reacted with compassion and understanding to this senseless act of violence and hate, and how Central Florida reacted with unity, resilience and strength in caring for our shattered brothers and sisters within the LGBTQ, Latinx and Hispanic communities, as well as the loved ones of those who were lost. On the broader scale, we hope that this amazing exhibit and Collection will inspire the change we want to see, and that the Pulse attack of June 12, 2016 will forever serve as the defining point and time in history when the world began to think and act differently. Through this One Orlando Collection, and by memorializing the terrible losses that so many have suffered, and the incredible response of love and unity – we hope to educate and inspire future generations so that this tragedy is never again repeated.”
The annual commemoration is dedicated to honoring the memory of the victims, supporting survivors and recognizing the compassion that was displayed by our community and the world during the darkest and most difficult day in our history.
On June 12, 2016, a domestic terrorist killed 49 people and injured 68 others at Pulse Nightclub in the City of Orlando. It is considered the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman and the deadliest incident of violence against the LGBTQ community in modern U.S. history. The Pulse tragedy is also considered the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since the September 11 attacks in 2001.
On Monday, a joint proclamation ceremony with Orange County and the City of Orlando established Monday, June 12, 2017 as Orlando United Day. The proclamation event was hosted at the Orange County Administration Building during the Sea-to-Sea unveiling ceremony. The flag has become a globally recognized symbol of the LGBTQ movement since its creation in 2003 by Gilbert Baker.
Throughout the day, the community participated in the One Orlando Alliance’s Act, Love, Give movement which encouraged local residents and those around the world to honor all who have been impacted by the Pulse tragedy.
Members of the community were also welcomed at Pulse Nightclub to remember the 49 innocent victims. The nightclub held a ceremony that included various community speakers, reflective prayers, a reading of the 49 names, a display of 49 wreaths and music by Violectric with the Lutheran Comfort Dogs.
At noon, Central Florida and worldwide churches tolled their bells 49 times to remember the 49 innocent lives lost. More than 190 churches committed and participated in this global remembrance.
The Orlando Love: Remembering Our Angels event was also held at Lake Eola Park Amphitheater. The ceremony included remarks by community leaders, musical performances by Olga Tañón and Sisaundra Lewis with a memorial reading of the names of the 49. The community was invited to conclude the evening at Pulse Nightclub with a series of prayers, musical remembrances, inspirational dance and reflection.
In the days following the Pulse tragedy last year, the Orange County Regional History Center worked on an immediate short-term response to the tragedy, which was later formally named the One Orlando Collection Initiative. History Center staff were physically onsite at major memorial locations – including Lake Eola, Orlando Health and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts – to photograph and preserve thousands of memorial items.
To date, more than 5,000 items are included in the Collection. These extraordinary items – hand made with love and in grief – are a very important part of the story that Orange County wants to share with this generation, the next generation and generations to come.
“Through this One Orlando Collection, and by memorializing the terrible losses that so many have suffered, and the incredible response of love and unity – we hope to educate and inspire future generations so that this tragedy is never again repeated,” said Mayor Jacobs.
Orange County encourages Central Floridians and virtual visitors from across the nation and the world to view these touching tributes at our Keep the Pulse website, www.OneOrlandoCollection.com. The One Orlando Collection will expand as curation efforts continue.