On anniversary of Pulse mass shooting, survivor remembers best friends who were killed

Forty-nine people were gunned down at Pulse on June 12, 2016.

On the anniversary of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people, including many who were Latinx and part of the LGBTQ+ community, a survivor is urging Americans to honor his slain friends with action.

“Has it been 5 years? Or were you just a dream?” Brandon Wolf tweeted on Saturday, five years to the day after escaping from what became the deadliest mass shooting in America at the time.

Wolf’s best friends, Juan Guerrero and Drew Leinonen, were among the 49 killed.

“5 years without your smiles. Silly laughs. Playing music one notch too loud. Watching the same music videos on repeat. 5 years feels like eternity,” Wolf wrote. “Miss you. Love you. And I won’t stop fighting for a world you’d be proud of.”

To the public, Wolf said, “I beg you: commit to honor them not with empty thoughts or hollow annual sympathies. Commit to #honorthemwithaction.”

In the aftermath of the shooting, Wolf said he was inspired to become an advocate while watching cable news.

“The panel of heterosexual white men seemed to me to talk about everything except what really mattered — the lives that were stolen, the difficulty of undocumented family members to receive victim resources, the pain of being a gay man, unable to donate blood to help the wounded, the hole ripped in a community that faces violence and hate every day,” Wolf wrote in a USA Today article published Saturday. “At that moment, I dedicated my life to making sure my friends wouldn’t just be two of 49, to fighting for a country that values and protects everyone.”

Several events are scheduled in Orlando on Saturday to mark the anniversary.

At noon local time, church bells rang 49 times for the 49 victims.

A walk will be held in the afternoon followed by a remembrance ceremony in the evening.

Source: ABC – US News

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