ORLANDO, Fla. – Six months ago time stood still. At 2:02 a.m., the first shots were fired at Pulse. Victims' families and survivors of the tragedy gathered at the nightclub to hold a moment of silence for the 49 lives lost.
"The emotions are still raw. Six months seems like a length of time, but I think for everyone it still seems like yesterday," Tyler Smith said.
For Jim Mcdermott, it was a miracle his friend Chris Brodman got out alive. He explained Brodman's narrow escape that night.
"He saw bullets come through the back wall, because he was on the back patio. And that brave police officer started firing back and gave them time [to get away]," Mcdermott said.
However, three months later health problems would catch up with Brodman. He died of a rare brain capillary issue.
"The hardest thing about losing someone that you love is that you don't want them to be forgotten. They're part of you, they'll never be forgotten," Mcdermott said.
Chriss West, who escaped Pulse with his mom, said he still struggles with the memories. He says he now feels there is purpose in his time left on Earth, to continue to lift up those in his community.
"We have been stigmatized many years of our lives. We have gone through hurdles, through storms, through many, many obstacles," West said. "Just to know that we are here standing and pushing to a better cause, that's what matters to me."
A second tribute will be held at Pulse Monday night. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.