Today, June 12, marks one year since a gunman entered Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., killing 49 people and injuring 53 more – most of them Latinx. The moment now sits atop the United States’ deadliest mass shootings. We remember and honor the lives lost and the ones forever impacted on that night one year ago.
That night was celebratory. Orlando natives and out-of-towners gathered at Pulse, a gay nightclub, enjoying life to the rhythms of salsa and merengue.
That night was ghastly. Hundreds of shots fired. Young men and women texting parents “I love you” and “I’m gonna die”; mothers anxiously calling them; phones ringing but not being answered; 49 dead, 53 wounded by a determined gunman—the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
That night was affirming. A mother bought her queer son a drink. A wife sang past midnight with her gay brother-in-law. Same-sex couples held each other tight.
That night was dream-shattering. Couples’ plans to say “I do” were stolen. A new mother won’t see her child grow up. A daughter’s father will never walk her down the aisle. College students will not hang their degrees on a wall. Young people, excited to start careers in nursing and theater, won’t realize their American Dreams.
That night was unifying. Parents held their children closer. Friends who lost contact over the years checked in on each other. Churches, mosques and synagogues joined in the grieving. Celebrities recorded songs that spread messages of love. Monuments lit up in rainbow colors.
That night, June 12, 2016, the country had one pulse.