In the early hours of Sunday morning, America suffered the largest mass shooting in its history. It took place at a gay nightclub in Orlando called Pulse, and the two days since have been filled with news reports, politicization of tragedy, and arguments concerning gun control and who can give blood.
Many, though, have focused on the victims.
The Empire State Building remained dark on the first night after the shooting as a show of respect.
Standing in solidarity with the victims of the Orlando shooting, cities around the world have illuminated their most iconic buildings and landmarks with bright, joyous rainbows.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris
The bridge over the Sydney Harbor
The Story Bridge in Brisbane, Australia
City Hall in Tel Aviv
One World Trade Center and the Helmsley Building in New York City
And, fittingly, the Orlando Eye, a 400-foot tall Ferris wheel
Many celebrities took to various platforms to offer their thoughts and condolences.
On the late-night circuit, “The Late Show’s” Stephen Colbert said, “Despair is a victory for hate.” “The Daily Show’s” Trever Noah said, “I couldn’t be more sad and sickened by the events.” “Late Night’s” Seth Myers said, “Amid the horrific scenes of carnage and grief, there were also tremendous outpourings of compassion and good will.” And “The Tonight Show’s” Jimmy Fallon said, “Keep loving each other, keep respecting each other, and keep on dancing.”
On his show, CNN’s Anderson Cooper read the name of every one of the 49 people who were killed. Normally a stoic reporter, Cooper found himself pausing several times during the eight-minute opening of his broadcast as he fought back tears.
On Twitter, several other celebrities voiced their opinions.
Lady Gaga, who said, “This is an attack against humanity,” at the Los Angeles vigil on Monday, tweeted, “I dream of the world reflecting on what we can do to change this violence.” Comedian Wanda Sykes tweeted, simply, “I’m hurt. I’m angry.” Boy George tweeted, “I pray for this world to change!” Lance Bass said that his “tears will not stop,” and Ariana Grande wondered, “How how how how can one have so much hate ?????” Kirstie Alley mirrored the sentiment, tweeting: “I can’t fathom this kind of hatred and insanity. We have to unite as a society to come up with real solutions. I mean we just must RIP.” Comedian Ellen DeGeneres simply wrote, “Sobbing.”
One, Ed Droste, the frontman of indie rock band Grizzly Bear, took to Facebook to share a long, personal note about his sexuality and how lucky he feels for the way he’s been treated. “The fact that I can count on one hand where I’ve been verbally gay bashed is a blessing compared to most,” he wrote.
There have been many times I’ve felt lesser than within the gay community. Now is not one of them. Now we are all the same and all mourning. My love goes out to everyone in Orlando but everyone world wide who has to struggle just to be gay. There are multiple countries where being gay is served with a quick government sanctioned death penalty. We must remember these millions too. Even when I think we have it lucky here a horrific tragedy like this happens and is a sobering reminder how much further we have to go.
Finally, vigils were held across the country. Thousands flooded the streets near the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, which is where U.S. gay rights activism started in 1969, according to the Associated Press.
Hundreds marched through the French Quarter in New Orleans with flags and candles, eventually making a human chain along the Mississippi River, NOLA.com reported.
From hundreds in Boston to a thousand in Providence, R.I., to hundreds more in downtown Burlington, Vt., vigils were held in almost every state in the union, the AP reported.
The most striking, though, was the gathering in downtown Orlando. On Monday night, thousands in the community most immediately affected by the shooting gathered together as one.
Heartfelt and teary-eyed throngs of mourners filled the lawn of the Dr. Phillips Center, the city’s top performing arts center, which has served as a memorial for leaving flowers and notes for the victims.
As bells rang out 49 times, once for each victim killed in the shooting, one thing was clear: Orlando, and the world, has pulled together in the wake of yet another American tragedy.
See more on the Orlando shooting.