ORLANDO, Fla. – Tens of thousands packed into Lake Eola on Sunday night at sunset to remember the 49 lives cut short one week earlier at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Right before the vigil started, a rainbow appeared in the sky. A photo of the moment captured by Facebook user Gino Iavarone quickly went viral after it was reposted on the “Good Morning America” Facebook page.
The crowd was there to show love and support. It was a massive turnout, especially considering the event started as a small, grassroots movement.
The 90-minute program, hosted by WFTV‘s Nancy Alvarez and Jorge Estevez, included remarks from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and several other elected officials.
The vigil concluded with people in the crowd holding candles as the names of the victims were read.
Jacobs told the crowd that enough is enough when it comes to hate and violence.
“Together, we will drive out the darkness,” Jacobs said. “We will drive it out with kindness and compassion.
“This is the moment in time when hearts are opened and minds are changed forever. And this is the moment when love will prevail.”
Organizers called it a “gathering of friends” with no religious, political or brand association. In addition to mourning those who were lost, organizers sought to send a message of love and unity.
They asked that attendees “bring candles, water and hugs for yourselves and a few new friends.” Those who couldn’t attend were encouraged to donate to the OneOrlando Fund at OneOrlando.org.