Magic hon­ors vic­tims of Pulse club killing

Baltimore Sun - - WORLD SERIES - By Tim Reynolds

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.

JOHN RAOUX/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Magic guard El­frid Pay­ton, whose fa­ther played for the Bal­ti­more Stal­lions of the Cana­dian Foot­ball League, warms up wear­ing an Or­lando United T-shirt.

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