I moved to Orlando in 2001 and my wife was born and raised here. My son Jakson will be born in this city. More than any other place I’ve lived, I identified with Orlando. That’s what makes the two events that happened this past weekend so tough to deal with.
On Friday night, pop star Christina Grimmie’s life was taken needlessly after her concert. A 24 year old woman whose life was just starting and who was making something special with it, is gone. What kind of person would do that? As I read the story on Saturday, I felt sick. This was just a senseless act of violence and an innocent woman was taken from her friends and family.
Then I woke up Sunday morning. A terrorist attack here in Orlando, in a part of town that my wife and I have frequented. Winnie Palmer, the hospital my son will be born at, is right down the street from Pulse, the night club where everything took place. I’ve eaten at the Chipotle and Dunkin Donuts on Orange Ave numerous times. What person who lives in Orlando hasn’t been down there? On a weekend where already one incident happened, another one came along and hurt the city.
Or it tried to. You’ve probably read online or watched the news to know what happened at a place of acceptance and gathering. I don’t want to give that man anymore mentions than he’s already gotten. Instead, after a day of reflection, I’m proud to write that Orlando stepped up. We came together like so many places affected by terrorism before have. People went out in droves to donate blood. Those who couldn’t donate handed out food and water to first responders and those waiting in the long lines. People from around the world showed their support by donating money to the families who were impacted. On a day when no one would’ve blamed a city for curling up in a ball and staying home we just didn’t survive – we thrived. My city showed those who wish to do us harm that you will not win. No sir, at the end of the day you still lose.
As I wrap up my feelings, take a moment to pray for the families, tell someone that you love them, and cast out any ill feelings in your heart. If you can do those things, those who look to harm us will never win.
If you want to support the Pulse victims’ fund, head on over to: http://www.gofundme.com/pulsevictimsfund