ORLANDO, Fla-- - It has been 2 years since the Pulse nightclub shooting. The community continues to grieve, but is also determined to turn this tragedy into a message of perseverance.
“I used to come here and dance and celebrate and it was kind of my first gay club in Orlando after moving here,” said Evan Larkin.
Larkin is like dozens of others who continue to come here to reflect and remember the 49 victims whose lives were cut short. On the two year remembrance, he is passing out free flowers and water to those who stop and pay their respects.
“To have that sense of safety sense of community, love & fun sort of shattered in a matter of hours is something that I think everyone finds difficult to grapple with,” said nearby resident Amanda Hidalgo.
Pulse nightclub was known as a safe haven for the LGBTQ community. After the shooting, the club never reopened but a memorial has since been set up outside the front doors.
“I think this year maybe the grief and the feelings have settled into something a little bit deeper,” said Hidalgo.
Everywhere you look you can see #OrlandoStrong displayed, including on some of the Orlando PD cars.
“Whether you are a survivor a family member or a friend of a victim the feeling doesn’t change the heartache and the missing them doesn't go away with time,” said Melissa King.
Instead, a new light is shining through them.
"We want to bring light and radiate the essence of the people dancing and the way the people were celebrating, we want to keep celebrating for them,” said Larkin.