ORLANDO, Fla. - Saturday marks 5 years since the horrific Pulse nightclub shooting. It's a day ingrained in the minds of not only the people who lost loved ones in the attack but for the Central Florida leaders who responded to the shooting on June 12, 2016.
Several agencies including the Orlando Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff's Office have been sending their condolences as the community remembers the lives lost.
"5 years ago today our community was devastated by the tragedy at Pulse. 49 angels lost. We continue to support and pray for their families and friends. Love defeats hate, light defeats the darkness," Orange County Sheriff John Mina tweeted on Saturday, along with the names of each of the victims.
"On this day, and every day, we remember the 49 innocent lives taken on June 12, 2016," Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon posted on social media. "Our community has shown how love would prevail in honor of the angels we lost. May we always unite in their memory. We will not let hate win."
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer spoke to FOX 35 this year about that tragic day.
"When I had to go back out there and tell everybody that there were 50 people, including the shooter, that were dead -- I just saw people like you that were just in shock. There were hardened journalists, reporters and you could have heard a pin dropped. And I was kind of choking up and that was the hardest thing for me to get through," Mayor Dyer said.
Governor Ron DeSantis tweeted: Five years ago, an ISIS-inspired terrorist took 49 innocent lives at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Florida honors the memories of those who were murdered on one of the darkest days in Florida’s history."
Florida Rep. Val Demings released the following statement on Saturday:
"It has been five years but it feels like yesterday. Today I am thinking of the 49 who we lost—49 human beings, 49 dreams, 49 futures, 49 families missing a loved one. I am thinking of the survivors who still need our fullest support as they work through physical and mental wounds. I am thinking of the families with an empty seat at the table. Nothing can bring back what was lost, but we can do everything in our power to fill that void with love, support, and a commitment to care for our community not only today, but in the years to come.
"I echo our mayor to say to the survivors and family members of Pulse: it’s okay to not be okay. This was a tragedy. The nation may have watched and grieved with us, but the pain that you may be feeling is personal. I want you to know that we embrace you with love, not as symbols but as yourselves. If you are struggling, there is help available, and I encourage you to reach out.
"It can be hard to find the words, because the truth is that no words can make this right for the survivors and families of those we lost. That’s why five years ago we promised to ‘honor them with action,’ not just with words. As we move forward from this anniversary, it is my prayer that all of us will recommit ourselves to that mission, to ensure that every Pulse survivor—and every American—can live in a nation where each person is safe to go out to a nightclub or any other place, where our LGBTQ community is protected, where the highest-quality mental health support is available to those who need it, and where we treat gun violence as the threat that it is to our loved ones. I know that we can do better, and as we commemorate this sorrowful anniversary, I believe that we must do better."
A Five-Year Pulse Remembrance Ceremony will be held (invitation only) with a live stream available for the public to watch at Dr. Phillips Center Frontyard Festival from 7 to 8 p.m. on Saturday. It will also be available to stream on the onePULSE Foundation Facebook Page and YouTube Channel. Visit onePULSEfoundation.org/ for more details.
Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.