ORLANDO, Fla. - Church bells tolled 49 times Sunday morning – one after the other after the other – for nearly nine minutes in honor of the 49 people who were killed in the 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Inside First United Methodist Church, family and friends read the name of all 49 people.
Andrea Drayton, whose daughter Deonka died in the shooting, was there. Through heartache, she said it was important to be there for the victims, survivors, and their families.
"Our daughter Deonka had a spirit that radiated all rooms. Anybody she met, she brought peace, joy, happiness, fun, laughter, to their lives," said Drayton.
"People come here, we join together they know that this is where the Pulse tragedy happened, and we can't feel it anyplace else. The love that we feel here we get it no place else" she said.
It's the fifth year of the bell ringing ceremony – and each year it grows to more cities and towns.
"The mothers who wanted this ceremony to start came the year after and said we would like to start inviting churches originally to ring their bells 49 times on June 12 whether it's this church or any church, and actually it expanded beyond churches to be an interfaith movement," said Josh Bell, with the One Orlando Alliance.
The Orlando Gay Chorus also sang and pastors talked about universal values of love and acceptance.
The Drayton family started "The 3D Initiative" in Deonka's name, a foundation to help youth.