For the first time since the massacre last June, when Orlando’s Pulse nightclub went from patrons’ haven to nightmare in a matter of seconds, owner Barbara Poma turned on the building’s outside lights Sunday — reminding mourners what it looked like before everything closed down.
Hues of pink and purple splashed across the bar’s black exterior and blue-green spotlights illuminated palm trees. The club’s logo — a large “P” — was projected on the wall.
It had been a year since the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history stole 49 lives there and scarred countless others; a year since Pulse, a safe space for Orlando’s gay community, fundamentally changed.
Overnight, those directly touched by the June 12, 2016, tragedy — survivors and family of victims — gathered in the parking lot outside the club for a private memorial service. They weren’t allowed inside the building, which has been boarded up for months, but just being near the place was emotional enough.
“It’s totally different now. It’s like all the terrifying and awful memories I had have been replaced with tonight, with this unity and all this love,” Ramses Tinoco, who survived the massacre, told the Orlando Sentinel. “We’re all still grieving but this gave me some closure. I could smile and remember the 49.” Read more via Washington Post