Remembering Pulse: 49 crosses honor victims at Orange County History Center

Several events will take place on the sixth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy to remember those who died.  At the Orange County Regional History Center, 49 wooden crosses will be on display.

"We have the 49 crosses – memorial crosses from the Orlando Health campus – that were placed by a carpenter from Illinois."

From the moment you walk into the exhibit, you can feel the emotion, as pictures of the Pulse victims are displayed on each individual cross. Jeremy Hileman of the History Center explains, "It’s a very solemn and sad thing and those pieces of the collection are definitely emotional for both visitors and our staff." 

He says the crosses represent love, not hate. "People came and left tribute items or signed messages and that became one of the symbols for the community response to the tragedy." 

"I actually went through to that nightclub a few times," said History Center visitor Kerianne Reardon, who said we should never forget. "It’s great what they’re doing to remember them. We do move on and forget things, so it’s a way of respecting them. Remembering their life."

"Family members, survivors, first responders, a lot of people that were directly affected by it. They will come," Hileman added. He said each cross is preserved carefully,  in a temperature-controlled storage facility.  "They each have their own custom box to make sure there’s no dust or damage." 

The crosses are considered important artifacts, as well as symbols of hope. 

"Kind of shine a light on what positive came out of such a dark situation. The outpouring of support that came at that time." 

The crosses will be on display at the History Center throughout the weekend. Admission is free. It's located at 65 E Central Blvd in Orlando.