ORLANDO, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A rally was held near the historic Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village Monday night to honor the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando a year ago.
A vigil was also held earlier outside the gay nightclub, where a gunman shot and killed 49 people during “Latin Night” early on the morning of June 12, 2016.
At the New York ceremony at what is widely considered the birthplace of the gay rights movement, there was a moment of silence and a reading of the names, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported. In a striking visual display, there was a parade of veiled figures dressed in white to represent each victim – 49 people ages 18 to 50 – killed in a place many turned to as a safe space to be themselves.
“There were 49 people whose lives were stolen because of hatred, and we can’t ever forget that,” said Gemma Inguanta of New Hyde Park.
“I read the names. I read the ages – and I mean, 18, 20, 22, et cetera,” said Kate Walter of the West Village. “It’s so sad.”
Among the lives changed forever in the Pulse nightclub shooting was Greenwich Village rally speaker Keinon Carter, who was shot twice during the assault.
“My message to people is just love one another. Keep the hate and the hatred away,” Carter said. “Stop harming each other. Put the guns down.”
John Cadue of Gramercy Park wore a black veil to show he still mourns.
“I’m sad. These people died a horrible death and their families are sad and bereaved. I’m sad,” Cadue said. “Doesn’t mean I’m not hopeful!”
In Orlando, a vigil began at 2:02 a.m. Monday, as the names of the people killed were read. That was the time gunman Omar Mateen began firing.
“I realize that gathering here in this place, at this hour, is beyond difficult,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told survivors, victims’ families, club employees and local officials during the private service. “But I also know that the strength you’ve shown over the past year will carry you through today and in the future.”
Orlando held almost 24 hours of observations to remember the victims and the dozens of Pulse patrons who were wounded when <a href="http://newyork.cbslocal.com/tag/omar-mateen" Mateen opened fire and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. He was eventually killed by police after a three-hour standoff.
Later Monday morning, hundreds of people dropped off flowers, drawings and cards at a memorial near Pulse. Another midday service was held, followed by an evening gathering in the heart of downtown Orlando and a final, music-filled late-night service at the nightclub.
As CBS News’ Kenneth Craig reported, the Orlando honored its darkest day with flowers, art, and lots of hugs.
“It still hurts, it’s still very raw,” said Erin Anderson, a friend and former co-worker of Pulse victim Xavier Serrano Rosado.
“Everybody pulled together in this whole community, to show love, support; show that hate does not stand here,” said Michael Hoffman of Orlando. “And that’s basically it.”
Capresse Smith brought her two children. She wants them to understand that Orlando is in it together.
“We’re going to come together to celebrate lives. A community that is going to shout out to everybody around us that we need to love, love, love,” Smith said.
Jeannine Williams used to live within walking distance of Pulse and was a frequent visitor. She had made plans to be there the night of the shooting but decided to go another night club.
“A year later I think the thing that is most important is this community and why I live here and why I’m so happy to live here,” a tearful Williams said. “The support we not only have from our city government, it’s not fleeting support, it’s not support on certain days. It’s the way the community is. This is Orlando. This is why I just love living here.”
At noon, church bells throughout the Orlando area rang 49 times. Gov. Rick Scott ordered U.S. flags around Florida to be flown at half-staff and a giant rainbow flag would be unveiled at the Orange County government building.
“It breaks my heart that your sanctuary was taken from you. But I know we’re resilient and I know that we will win,” one speaker said.
Monday’s services culminated several days of events aimed at turning the grim anniversary into something positive. A foot race was held over the weekend, and eight gay and lesbian students were awarded $4,900 toward their college studies by a local businessman. Local officials have declared the one-year mark as a day of “love and kindness,” and they are encouraging residents to volunteer or perform acts of compassion.
An exhibit of artwork collected from memorial sites set up around Orlando after the massacre will be shown at the Orange County History Center.
“It’s a rainbow tarp on the fence. It’s a lot of love messages, it’s a lot of hugs not hate,” said Marcelle Robustelli.
City Commissioner Patty Sheehan told CBS News’ Craig that one of the tragedies here is the loss of a safe haven for Orlando’s vibrant LGBT community.
“This is is the kind of club I wanted to see in my district, where you didn’t have to be segregated by being gay or being Hispanic or being African-American, where everyone could be together and be friends,” Sheehan said.
The club’s owner, Barbara Poma, is developing plans to build a memorial at the Pulse site.
When Mateen opened fire in the nightclub, he paused to reload and to call 911 to pledge his allegiance to ISIS.
Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman, is facing charges of aiding and abetting and obstruction in federal court. She has pleaded not guilty to helping her husband.
A year later, as the LGBTQ community gathered to mourn and remember, some were still debating the motivation for the mass murder.
“I consider it personally a hate crime,” said Robert Wilson of East Flatbush.
“What fuels people to enact violence?” added Inguanta. “It was anti-homophobic bigotry.”
The New York event Monday night was sponsored by Gays Against Guns, a group that was formed after the attack to advocate for stricter gun laws. There was a heavy police presence for the vigil, including explosive-sniffing dogs.
The memorial was followed by a celebration of life, with many dance events at local clubs.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)