Pulse nightclub tributes roll in on 2-year anniversary of shooting: 'Today, the pain is the same'

Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle via Twitter
Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle via Twitter

Two years ago on June 12, 49 people went out for a night of dancing and never made it back home. They were the victims of the Pulse LGBTQ nightclub massacre in Orlando, one of the deadliest mass shootings in America, with another 53 people injured, most of them LGBTQ and Latino.

In honor of those who lost their lives way too soon, thousands of social media users wrote touching tributes on Tuesday remembering their loved ones and calling for gun-law changes to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring.

Pulse nightclub shooting victims are being remembered on June 12, the two-year anniversary. (Photo: Getty Images)
Pulse nightclub shooting victims are being remembered on June 12, the two-year anniversary. (Photo: Getty Images)

Brandon Wolf is one of the massacre’s survivors, but his best friend Drew Leinonen was not so lucky. On Tuesday morning, Wolf shared a series of photos of himself with Leinonen. The Florida native captioned the post, “Two years ago, a man fired 45 rounds a minute into the crowded club while I washed my hands in the sink. 13 of those rounds killed my best friends. Today, the pain is the same. Someone please fix this. I miss you.”

Wolf tells Yahoo Lifestyle that gun violence isn’t just about nameless body counts.It was brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, friends. Every life ripped from us at the hands of a madman with a weapon of war leaves a hole,” he says. “When we march, remember them. When we rally, remember them. And when we vote in November, remember them.”

Many other family members also took to social media in remembrance of their loved ones.

Others shared how this violence has inspired them to live life to the fullest and to be open about their sexual identity. A Twitter user named Gavin wrote, “I was a terrified closeted homosexual when the #pulse shooting happened. now I’m more open with myself than ever. nothing will ever stop us from being gay. … we’re not going out without a fight.”

Wolf became a gun-reform activist after the shooting and says that he is hopeful for the future, particularly looking to the Parkland shooting survivors as inspiration.

Hope is all I have,” he says. “I look around and see young people engaged and energized. I see a country that wants to take back power from a corrupt, greedy few. I see, in the faces of activists, the spirit of my best friends. The future has never seemed more full of hope.”

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