Magic honors victims of Pulse club killing
ORLANDO, FLA. — There’s nothing that can give Mayra Alvear back what she lost, or ease her pain, or calm her anger. But with one gesture, she at least felt some joy again.
Underneath a softly swaying banner displaying the number 49 — commemorating t he number of lives lost — and as first responders unfurled and held a massive American flag for the national anthem, the Orlando Magic paid tribute Wednesday night to the victims and survivors of the Pulse gay nightclub massacre with an emotional ceremony immediately before the team’s season opener against the Miami Heat.
“We felt the recognition needed to be significant,” Magic president Alex Martins said. “We think part of the healing process for our community is making sure we don’t forget. And we felt it was most appropriate that we do it on Opening Night, so it receives the proper recognition and exposure — but also gave the greatest number of our fans the opportunity to recognize and remember.”
Some survivors were present, as were some relatives of those who were killed June 12 in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman, Omar Mateen, was killed after a threehour standoff during an exchange of fire with SWAT team members.
“What the Orlando Magic are doing is amazing, is beautiful. I’m honored and grateful,” said Alvear, whose daughter Amanda Alvear was a Pulse victim.
The nightclub remains fenced off but is still attracting mourners. Banners on the fence are dotted with handwritten messages from visitors, with some flowers and candles on the ground.
Martins was the chair of OneOrlando, a fund that collected $29.5 million in donations that’s being distributed to 299 claimants.
Magic guard Elfrid Payton, whose father played for the Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League, warms up wearing an Orlando United T-shirt.