Orlando’s Pulse nightclub to become a national memorial with Biden’s signature
This Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Earlier this week, the US Senate passed a bill to nationally recognize a memorial for these victims. The bill, S.1605, will designate the site of the former nightclub the Pulse National Memorial.
“This memorial will serve as a national symbol of hope, love and unity,” said Rep. Linda Sanchez, one of the bill’s authors. wrote on Twitter. The other sponsors of the bill are Reps. Darren Soto and Val Demmings.
A gruesome shootout
Pulse, a nightclub founded in 2004, was home to Orlando’s LGBTQ+ community.
On June 12, 2016, a single gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others in a shootout in Pulse. The attack – the second deadliest mass shooting in the United States – is the deadliest incident of violence against LGBTQ+ people in the United States. It is also the second deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Remembering the Victims
The House version of the bill passed in May. US Senator Rick Scott, who was Governor of Florida at the time of the shooting, sponsored the Senate legislation. The bill was passed aloud.
The shooting was “an indescribable tragedy,” Scott said from the ground, a United Press International story reports.
Scott also called the shooting “a diabolical act of terrorism designed to divide us as a nation and strike fear into our hearts and minds.” He went on to say, “But instead, we came together and held each other through grief and darkness, to preserve and rebuild.”
The bill now needs President Joe Biden to sign it. While it’s unclear at this point when Biden will be able to sign the bill, it’s likely he will.
Biden, who was vice president at the time of the shooting, traveled to Orlando to visit the site and families of the victims as well as first responders immediately after the attack. While there, Biden called the attack “an act of pure hatred and indescribable terror,” a Newsweek item reports.
Although the National Pulse Memorial is designated as a national site, it would not be part of the national park system, according to the legislation. Also, federal funds would not be used with the memorial in any way.
Instead, Florida’s Orange County commissioners have already approved $10 million in funding to help the nonprofit onePULSE Foundation purchase land around the former nightclub to build a memorial and museum. , the United Press International history reports.
A solemn remembrance
June 12 is the fifth anniversary of the mass shooting. If you’re looking for a way to mark the event, here are two suggestions for Orlando Weekly.
First, you can “solemnly ring a bell or similar instrument 49 times beginning at noon, both in recognition of the 49 lives lost at Pulse and as a commitment to advancing the full inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community. You can also follow on social media using the hashtag #49Bells.
Second, the OnePulse Foundation holds an annual remembrance ceremony at the Pulse nightclub grounds, “bringing together the families of those whose lives have been tragically taken, providing space for them to remember their loved ones in peace, and honoring all those who survived, including the brave first responders and trauma teams who saved so many,” Orlando Weekly Explain. The ceremony at the Pulse Interim Memorial is invite-only, but you can watch a live stream of the event at 6 p.m. Saturday. here.
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