ORLANDO, Fla. – This year, the Pulse interim will be closed to the general public on June 12 and instead a remembrance ceremony to honor those killed in the 2016 mass shooting will be held online.
In the past, thousands have gathered at the site of the tragedy on June 12 to mark another year since 49 lives were claimed at the gay nightclub. Now, due to coronavirus social distancing guidelines, the annual ceremony will be pre-recorded and placed on the onePulse Foundation Facebook page and YouTube channel at 7 p.m. Friday.
The lineup includes family members reading the names of the 49 victims, remarks from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, the reading of two original poems by Orlando poet laureate Susan Lilley, statements from onePULSE Foundation founder and CEO Barbara Poma and performances.
Although the interim memorial will be closed to the public starting at 10 p.m. Thursday until Saturday morning, it will be open to first responders, survivors and family members of the victims.
“We are grateful for the tremendous support of the community and would love nothing more than to have our community members join us in remembering our 49 Angels, and honoring our survivors and first responders, but we must prioritize the health and safety of the public, the Pulse community and our employees,” Poma said in a news release. “We ask the community to join together again, in a different way this year, as a symbol of strength and solidarity in the face of tragedy, forever proving: We will not let hate win.”
Those who participate in the virtual ceremony are asked to share their thoughts and reflections using #WeWillNotLetHateWin on social media.