Sunday, June 25, 2017

Orlando Love: Remembering Our Angels at Lake Eola.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan and other community leaders and elected officials will hold a one-year remembrance ceremony at Lake Eola Park. The ceremony, Orlando Love: Remembering Our Angels, will include remarks by community leaders, musical performances by Olga Tañón and Sisaundra Lewis along with a memorial reading of the 49 names of those who were taken during the June 12 tragedy.

Actress Peg O'Keef recited the opening monologue from O-Town: Voices from Orlando. This was likely the largest audience to see this performance. The audience was silent as she described our quiet little town that would be so much different the day after the Pulse Massacre. Orlando stood up to the challenge, rising up, and refusing to let hate or divisiveness be a part of the recovery. People lined u to give blood, a homeless man would relight the thousands of candles at memorial sites. Crosses would be driven across the country to be left at Orlando Regional Medical Center, each to honor one of the 49 victims.

Pam Schwartz and I found a spot on the lake within sight of the rainbow colored Disney band shell. Walking past the standing room only seating area we saw the glitzy projected graphics above the stage. Buses parked in the street blocked any opportunity to view the stage from a distance. They might have been parked there to block potential hate groups. Two women cuddled in front of us as we listened to the city officials. Back stage 49 angels could be seen struggling to get on their PVC and white fabric wings,

Buddy Dyer spoke in his soothing southern accent and the crowd responded with applause. To our left were two men and one was disgruntled. When Mayor Teresa Jacobs spoke, he started flipping the bird and cursing her name. We were far enough away so that his anger didn't reach the stage. His friend said,"Come on, lets get out of here, you don't need to be listening to this."  Eventually they did leave.

Patty Sheehan spoke in Spanish, so I am not sure what condolences she might have offered. My general impression of the evening was that it was too polished a production. Turn out was less than a year before but it had been raining all afternoon, so only lie-hards were here. It felt a bit like it was Disneyfied, with too much sugar and not enough substance. It was reassuring however to be in a crowd of so many beautiful people who all stood for the cause of love over hate.


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