Karine Jean-Pierre
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Pulse to Become Permanent Memorial in Honor of Orlando Shooting Victims

Pulse to Become Permanent Memorial in Honor of Orlando Shooting Victims

Orlando's Pulse nightclub is slated to become a permanent memorial to the 49 victims gunned down June 12, when a lone gunman opened fire in the Florida gay bar.

Documents filed by the OnePulse Foundation, a relief fund established to provide assistance to victims, survivors, and their families, through the state of Florida say that its mission includes “conceiving, funding, and aiding in the construction of a permanent memorial on the existing Pulse site.”

The memorial will serve as “a sanctuary of hope dedicated to the lives affected and taken by the tragedy,” as Orlando TV station WOFL reports.

Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse, has long stated that a memorial to honor victims of the horrific tragedy, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, would be in the works. Pulse is named in memory of her brother, who died of AIDS complications in 1991.

“Anything we would ever do would include a memorial,” Poma told the Orlando Sentinel. “We are still working through our grief.”

Jeff Danziger, a psychiatrist who practices in the city, told Daytona Beach TV station WESH that the bar has already become a memorial site in the weeks following the attack. “It’s become sort of a shrine for people to visit and show the depth of their feelings much like we saw on a larger scale with 9/11 in New York,” Danziger said.

“The memorial is a good thing so people like us can come here and think about that day,” added Julien Schuettu, a German tourist visiting the city.

The Pulse victims were also honored Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention, where Christine Leinonen spoke on behalf of her son, Christopher, and his boyfriend, Juan Guerrero, both of whom were killed in the attack.

“It takes about five minutes for a church bell to ring 49 times,” said Leinonen, adding, “The weapon that murdered my son fires 30 rounds in one minute.”

Holding back tears, Leinonen also offered a message of hope in the face of tragedy.

“Christopher's paternal grandparents met and fell in love in a Japanese internment camp,” she continued. “So it was in his DNA that love always trumps hate.”

To raise funds for the planned memorial, OnePulse Foundation will be holding a benefit concert August 19. Visit the OnePulse website for more information on the event or how to donate to the victims.

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