FLORIDA SOLO ROAD TRIP | National Pulse Memorial and Museum in Orlando

In May 2022, our friend and colleague Dennis De Roover travelled for the first time in his life – solo – outside Europe. He set his sights on a road trip in Florida in the United States. He’s so kind to share his story.

After all these theme parks in, a very untypical end to my Orlando visit was going to the National Pulse Memorial and Museum.

On June 12, 2016, a terrorist murdered 49 people and injured another 53 people during a Latin party at this nightclub. 

At the time it was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in the US history. 

Back then I was working professionally for the Flemish LGBT movement. I remember how events were held all over the world to show solidarity to the victims of this horrible mass shooting.

Recently the closed club has been designating a national memorial by Congress. I arrived at the club and found a police officer clearly visible yet quietly guarding the memorial. The outside walls of the club have become a memorial wall with messages of love and solidarity. 

The clear phrase “We will not let hate win” stood out. The corner sign of the club is still there. You can leave a message on it and there is also a digital guest book.

What struck me most were the lower walls in front of the club where loved ones of victims had put up banners with pictures of the victims, all of them very young people, most of them people of color. The harsh sun had faded some of the pictures of the sails. It’s hard not to feel the tremendous loss of family members and lovers who were left behind in grief and the pain of those who have survived the attack.

A lady was sitting at a stand next to the monument. I talked to her. She was an ex-employee of Pulse. She survived the attack because she was on a vacation the night it took place. 

She explained that a reflective pool will be installed and a complementary museum and education center not far away from the club will be constructed in the future. The fact that she would spend her free time receiving guests at this memorial, says a lot about her determination to turn the place of a horrible mass shooting into a healing experience in which loving memory is at the center point.

Florida 2022

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. pedmar10 says:

    Not in it but know it well, many memories of Orlando had my last girlfriend there before marriage to the Frenchie lol!! Thanks for the memories Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Timothy says:

      You’re welcome 😉

      Like

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