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Vigils honor victims of Orlando mass shooting


Community members at a candlelight vigil in honour of the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting at a popular LGBTQ bar in Orlando, Florida watch through the window as Isabelle Patton adds another flicker candle to her display.

Prince Edward County residents were among a global community gathering at candlelight vigils to remember victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Forty-nine people were killed by a 29-year-old gunman, and more than 50 were wounded and injured at the iconic Pulse nightclub – a venue borne out of the owner’s desire to provide a safe and welcoming place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) patrons to feel welcome and safe. The gunman pledged allegiance to ISIS in a call to 911 before he was killed by police.

The horrific event has exposed deep rifts among people distrustful of Islam, and is bringing the issue of weapons in the streets and of hate crimes to conversations and the political forefront.

Memorials and vigils are being held the world over. More than two dozen attended the vigil in Picton on Monday, and another dozen Tuesday night, held due to a mis-communication about the date among some Facebook users.

Isabelle Patton, of Books & Company, decorated the Picton store’s massive front window with a display of the unfolding of the tragic event and the hope for healing to come.

“It begins with the fun party that was destroyed – the dancing, the celebration of life by the beautiful people who were there,” said Patton. “The centre represents community and the freedom we all enjoy in Canada. And the final area represents healing – where people have been bringing mementoes of celebration of life and community and honouring the victims who passed. And I still worry for those in hospital.”

Each candle, she said, brings light back to a terrible darkness and the five white roses represent love and hope.

“It just started as a few jars that I put candles into and as everybody came to light candles the next day we let them burn then replaced them with flicker candles for inside the store.

“We hope this window will progress over the next two to three weeks while it is here and we will continue to light candles as people bring them to us.”

“This is not something that heals in a day – not even in a lifetime. So we as a community stand fully in support of the LGBT community, the Muslim community and every community that finds hospice in our lovely sanctuary known as Canada, and hopefully in America.”

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