Victims’ loved ones gather in Orlando on anniversary of Pulse nightclub massacre

Friends and families of those who were injured and killed last year in the Pulse nightclub massacre gathered in Orlando Monday on the tragedy's one-year anniversary.

"The pain is terrible," Alejandro Barrios Martinez's mother told Local 10 News while visiting from Cuba.

Barrios Martinez was one of the 49 people who were killed at Pulse on June 12, 2016.

People who used to visit the club and others also came out to honor the victims.

"It felt incredibly warm to see the entire world coming just because of something that happened in my backyard," Cris Pacheco, who used to frequent the nightclub, said.

Gatherers who lined up Monday to pay tribute were surrounded by volunteers dressed as angels, whose makeshift wings symbolically blocked out any hate, spreading only love and peace.

"Being here today, I get flashbacks of a year ago and that horrible feeling, but at the same time, it really helps with the closure of it," Nicole Irizarry, whose friend, Christopher Sanfeliz, was killed in the shooting, said.

Irizarry returned to the scene Monday, joining hundreds of others for a ceremony outside the club.

Some said the massacre was a reminder for them to always hold the people they love tight and let them know what they mean to them. 

"If you're having a fight, get over it. Don't ever leave without telling people how much you love them, because with something like this, you never know what will happen and you don't want that hanging over your head," Terry DeCarlo, executive director of the LGBT Center of Central Florida, said.

Delanie Kimball, 11, didn't know any of the victims of the shooting, but wanted to show her love and support.

"I wanted to donate blood at the blood drive, but I'm too young so we decided to make some hearts and I had my sister doing them too," Delanie said. 

The young girl attended a memorial for the victims of the shooting on Monday. And she wasn't the only one to express her grief through art. 

Two Pennsylvania-based artists painted a mural of the victims.

The pair spent the past year traveling the country and meeting with the family and friends of those impacted by the shooting. 

"That's my baby. I see my baby,"  Felicia Burt said about her son Daryl Burt  II, who was portrayed in the painting.  

Burt said she was moved by the painting. 

"This shows that they are really trying to stomp out the hate. Because we've been seeing nothing but love here, and everybody here has been just so genuine," she said. 

Inside the club, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer attended a ceremony. 

"We are not here to relive the horror of that day," he said. "We are here for a far greater purpose. We are here to remember the innocent lives that were lost." 

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.