Pulse Remembrance 2024: Somber day of reflection on 8th anniversary of mass shooting

Community members, along with the families of the victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting, reunited for the Pulse Remembrance Ceremony on Wednesday evening – commemorating the tragedy's eighth anniversary.

Each year on June 12, the City of Orlando hosts the event to honor and remember the 49 lives lost, their families, survivors, first responders, and trauma teams affected by the tragedy. The ceremony was held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

A makeshift memorial outside Pulse has lasted a lot longer than most people had hoped. Wednesday night’s remembrance ceremony highlighted the need for a permanent memorial to be placed at the site of one of the country’s deadliest mass shootings. Eight years later, and still, no permanent memorial has been dedicated to the victims.

"Although there’s traction, we wish there would be more," said Laly Santiago-Leon.

Santiago-Leon lost her cousin, Dani, that night.

 "He loved… and he was just always there for everyone," Santiago-Leon said. "He was there for anyone. I’m proud of him. He achieved so much."

Now she is using her voice to be there for him – and the 48 others killed.

"They’re not just names," Santiago-Leon said. "There are so many stories, lives behind them."

Elaborate plans to erect a memorial were quashed after the onePulse Foundation disbanded. The news left many people frustrated, said State Representative Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando.

"There is a sense of betrayal and anger with the promises of a memorial that have not come to fruition, and so, this is an opportunity for us to reset, and I really want to make sure the community is part of that process," Eskamani said. "And yes, things can always move faster, but the reality is if we’re going to do this right, we need to take our time to do it right."


In October, the city of Orlando took over and purchased the Pulse property for $2 million. Earlier this week, city officials announced the creation of the Pulse Memorial Advisory Committee to move forward with plans.

"I hope that we can come to a place where we can finally have a memorial that allows us to reflect, remember, and honor the lives that we’ve lost," said Sean Mundy Schein. 

Mundy Schein, board member of Orlando Gay Chorus, said he has had the honor of performing at each remembrance ceremony. 

"We just hold in our hearts the families of the victims; we think it’s so important to show up, to continue to show that our community for all of the families, for all those impacted by this tragedy."

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer addressed memorial efforts during the ceremony. He acknowledged people’s frustrations and said he hopes the city can move forward with creating a memorial to honor the victims and survivors every day.

There is no word on a timeline from the city for the construction. 

Sheriff Mina, Undersheriff Canty reflect on Pulse shooting

At the time of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub, John Mina, Orange County Sheriff, was Chief of the Orlando Police Department. Undersheriff Mark Canty was the SWAT Team Commander. The two reflected on the mass shooting on the eighth anniversary of the tragedy in a discussion shared by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

At the time, Mina was the Chief of the Orlando Police Department, and Canty served as the SWAT Team Commander. They discussed the law enforcement response and the community's efforts to honor the victims. 

"We always honor the victims, most importantly, by never forgetting," Mina said. "I think they would’ve wanted us to continue honoring them by spreading love and not hate and making this a new, better community than it was before."

The video was posted to Facebook by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.