Community members gathered at Pulse nightclub early Monday to pay their respects to the 49 people who were killed in the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history one year ago.
Survivors and victims' relatives were invited to enter the fenced-in space surrounding the shuttered venue shortly after 2 a.m. – marking one year since the moment the attack began – as victims' names were read aloud.
The early start time didn't keep mourners from returning to the place where so many lost friends and relatives.
"No matter how dark the night, the sun is always going to shine," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told victims' family members during a private ceremony.
Jim McDermott, a friend of one of the victims, was among those who returned to the club Monday.
"It is 2 a.m. in the morning, and look at how many people are here to show compassion and love," McDermott said. "Our focus now is to make sure that the survivors and the people (who continue) to need medical help and treatment and psychological care and all of those other things continue to get it."
People dressed in white angel costumes surrounded the club Monday.
Marie Cobbs attended the ceremony with her sister, who's still trying to cope after losing her son, Anthony Disla, in the shooting.
"How can one man, one person kill so many people?" Cobbs said.
Consolation is what drew so many to the club Monday.
"The one silver lining that we can find in all of this is the amount of love and the amount of care that everybody has for each other," Viviana Torche said. "Not just Orlando, but the entire world."
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