Thousands pay respects 1 year after Pulse Nightclub shooting

Posted at 4:21 AM, Jun 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-12 12:30:38-04

Monday morning, there were plenty of tears, hugs and memories shared as hundreds of people left flowers and messages at the growing memorial outside Pulse nightclub.

RELATED: More coverage of the Pulse attack

City leaders are calling Monday “Orlando United Day” -- a day of love and kindness to remember the 49 victims who died a year ago in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.


Forty-nine people dressed as angels surrounded the memorial to give family and friends privacy to mourn their loved ones.

Around 2 a.m., family members of the victims read aloud the names of each victim.

“I think tonight was a big step in the right direction to heal,” said Christopher Alfieri, who attended the Monday morning service.


“It’s just hard dealing with it every day, but little by little, emotionally I’m getting better. My heart is healing more and it just goes away,” said Michael Hoffman, who was at the club when the attack occurred.

Several events are scheduled at the club throughout the day and another service will be held in downtown Orlando to remember the victims.

On Sunday evening, friends, family and the community gathered to reflect.

"Nice to see everybody here supporting each other supporting the community and overall just being kind to each other," said Aimee Weyrauch.

Since June 2016, Pulse Nightclub has grown into a memorial for the 49 victims.

On Sunday, hundreds of people added to it, including Michael Morales. He was at the club with his boyfriend Martin Benitez Torres the night of the attack.

Morales was shot three times and survived but Martin died.

On Sunday,  Michael came to Pulse with Martin's family.

"(I'm) paying tribute to Martin's life," said Morales.

Aimee Weyrauch worked with Luis Velma at Universal Studios.

"I just miss him," said Weyrauch. "The only person that I knew that could walk and genuinely light it up no matter what he did and didn't matter how bad of a day you're having. Just a hug or smile from him made everything better, and I miss those hugs and I miss his smile."

Edwin Perez is here for his stepson Stanley Almodovar III.

"The image of that night stays in my mind all the time, so it's been rough for the family," said Perez.

On Monday, there will be many stories just like this one -- telling the stories of 49 people who touched many lives.

They are gone but never forgotten.