“In the face of hate & violence, we will love one another”
Posted: 3:04 pm Saturday, July 2nd, 2016
Yesterday, I traveled down I4 to Orlando to interview twenty one pilots before their concert at Amway Center. When I got there quickly and had some extra time, I decided to take a detour. I knew that they had recently opened up the streets around Pulse Nightclub where the horrific nightmare happened only a few weeks prior.
I put the name of the club in my GPS. It said, “CLOSED” in all caps. I obviously knew that, but it just gave me the weirdest feeling. Pulse is just a couple of minutes off of the interstate as you get close to Downtown Orlando. I turned onto South Orange Ave. The giant sign with the very recognizable “P” was the first thing that I saw. It was all of a sudden so cloudy and gloomy. I hadn’t noticed that until I started getting closer. It almost felt appropriate. It would be odd to see something so emotional and painful with the sun shining behind it.
The next thing I noticed was the establishment next door charging for $5 parking. I understand that they had been out of business for a couple of weeks during the initial investigation, but it seemed unsavory to me. “Free Orlando United sticker with parking”. No thank you.
I drove down the street next to Pulse and found a spot along the road to parallel park. That was same road where first responders spent countless hours trying to rescue victims. The same road where people took their last breaths. The same road that was the backdrop for countless hours of news coverage. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around that.
I had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 memorial a couple of years ago. This had a very similar feeling. It was just more raw. There was crime scene tape up. There were police officers everywhere. They were taking furniture out of the building and loading it into a big truck. It was still so fresh.
I didn’t take many pictures of the memorial. I didn’t take any pictures of the building itself. It felt disrespectful to do so. I just wanted to be there. Be present. Pay my respects.
Sending love to everyone in Orlando, especially those who have been affected by this tragedy. #OrlandoStrong