Orlando still united: 5 acts of kindness at Pulse memorial
Orlando honors victims killed in 2016 mass shooting
ORLANDO, Fla. – Earlier this month, Orlando honored the 49 people killed in the Pulse shooting, marking the second year since the tragedy at the gay nightclub.
People traveled from all over the U.S. to be at the Pulse memorial on June 12, each with their own connection to the nightclub or victims and survivors.
Throughout the day as people flocked to the temporary memorial on South Orange Avenue, to remember the victims and support the more than 50 people injured, they brought acts of kindness with them.
Using art to unify
Two of the four Kimball sisters, of Orlando, passed out hand-colored rainbows ahead of the Pulse shooting remembrance ceremony on June 12, 2018. The sisters have given out more than 30,000 hearts since the tragedy at Pulse to show that "Love Always Wins."
Meanwhile, Melissa and Lori King, of Volusia County, painted artwork on rocks featuring images of all 49 victims of the Pulse shooting inside the Wendy's across from the Pulse memorial.
Melissa King said the rocks serve as a common bond for people, because "a rock is part of Earth and many religions leave rocks at gravesites."
"You can't help but be happy painting a rock," Melissa King says.
The Kings gifted their artwork to families and friends of the victims and left them as offerings around the new memorial site.
The couple were also carrying a sign offering "Free hugs."
Donating flowers and giving out water
Employees of the Dr. Phillips Trader Joe’s brought about 200 bouquets of flowers and cases of water to the Pulse memorial for the 2 year anniversary.
The employees told News 6 they spoke to their managers about the idea ahead of the anniversary, and they were very supportive to donating the items.
“We wanted to do something," an employee told News 6.
The bright flowers filled the fence around the memorial site by the time the remembrance ceremony began.
Giving out hugs
Multiple people were carrying signs like the one below offering up a hug. It's not that often you see complete strangers embracing, but at the memorial event there were plenty of hugs all around.
VoluntEARs at Pulse
Disney provided all of the volunteers, or "VoluntEARS," at the Pulse memorial for the second anniversary. Amanda Campau was one of them. She said she wanted to be there for the anniversary because she used to frequent the club and lost three friends the night of the shooting.
"I couldn't sign up enough," Campau said about opting to volunteer at Pulse.
VoluntEARS were at the new temporary memorial to answer any questions visitors had about displays or the tragedy itself.
Walt Disney World President George A. Kalogridis serves as the vice chairman on the onePULSE Foundation memorial board of trustees.
After the Pulse shooting, several groups would bring certified therapy dogs to makeshift memorial sites.
That tradition has continued on the anniversary of the tragedy, including those who may not have certified dogs but know the healing power of petting a puppy.
Leo, a German shepard mix, was at the Pulse two-year anniversary with his owner, who said he knew people might need a soft-furry, face to help momentarily ease their sadness.
Throughout the day there were about a dozen therapy dogs and their handlers at the temporary memorial site.
[PHOTO GALLERY: Images from the Pulse memorial on the 2 year anniversary]
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