Avenues

Monday, June 13, 2016

Vigil in Lakeland - Massacre in Orlando

It was Monday, June 13th and the time was 2 am. No surprise I could not sleep. The massacre of innocents in Orlando was less than 24 hours old and I was thinking about ways to exterminate every "Buzdil" (coward) hate-filled killer of innocents on this planet. The hateful attack in Orlando was a new low. Orlando will never again be the "Happiest Place on Earth". None of my friends or family were involved. Why was I still angry, hurt and disturbed? I could feel the pain and suffering of the person who lost his brother, sister and family member. I felt the horror of each person who died. I was to experience the trauma of everyone who survived. I felt the shock of the family member whose lost loved one had never told anyone he was gay. I am feeling the brunt of a self-imposed emotional whiplash. Why me? Why not me?

As I dropped off my daughter for her volunteering and headed home in the morning, I heard on the news that there was a vigil scheduled in Lakeland to remember the victims two who were from Lakeland. I wanted to attend to support my community in every way I could and share our grief and message of love and peace with people all over the world. I hoped the answer to the "why me or why not me?" question may also lie at the vigil.

A little after 7:30 pm that evening forty-nine doves were released into the air to their freedom, one honouring each of the victims. As if there was any doubt, I knew for sure now that I was at the Vigil at Lake Mirror, Lakeland for the victims of the Orlando massacre. The vigil was a show of strength, unity and power and an outpouring of love and support from and toward the LGBT community. Alice Koehler single-handedly, with the help of her two young children, made arrangements for candle lit luminaries that people could decorate wit their own heartfelt messages and thoughts. Various dignitaries spoke about peace and the scripture of God. The attendance of (by my estimate) 2,000 supporters had made this vigil a resounding success and enforced community bonding in my city. The occasion had evolved from looking back at the disaster to looking ahead to celebration of life and fighting against evil. It was honestly overwhelming. Somewhere in these photographs lies the answer to my question.

Supporters start arriving for the vigil at 7pm
Alice Koehler single-handedly made arrangements for the
Candlelit luminaries with messages






Woman lays flowers in memory of slain victims
Security is tight courtesy of Lakeland Police Department
and Polk County Sheriff's Department
People express their support in all manners
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. He said he loves pictures.
So do I.
Victor Sims sings the Nation Anthem 
Howard Wiggs -Mayor of Lakeland gives a speech.
"You are what makes Lakeland Special." The words stuck in my head.
Sheriff Grady Judd gives his speech. An attack on one of us is
an attack on all of us. The Sheriff rightfully refused to mention
the name of the terrorist. The glory in the media must end.
Forty-Nine White doves were released to their freedom.
One dove for representing of the victims flew into the sunset as the song
"Over the Rainbow" echoed in the skies.
God Loves Everyone. Straight up.
"I can't Even Think Straight." Fantastic!!!
I need to get one of these.
Friends 
Two Men Embracing each other in show of love


Laying Flowers

Best Buddies
Best Girlfriends
Lighting Candles as darkness approaches
Lighting Candles as darkness approaches
Lighting Candles as darkness approaches
People waving candles as song "Imagine" by late great
Beatle John Lennon played for comfort
Peace at last
Supporter during vigil overcome by grief
As the vigil ended, I was remembered the survivors who were at the local hospitals who still need blood, hope, PTSD treatment and love. Little had I known that the LGBT community in my hometown was this strong. I came home empowered with new appreciation for the LGBT community and a more resilient motivation against terrorism. One message was clear - We cannot live in the shadow of hatred and fear for the rest of our lives. Rest in Peace those who lost their lives. Live in peace the rest of us.

4 comments:

  1. Talent comes in many forms - inspiration being one of them. . .
    Thank you for these photos and your healing words Yatin Chachad.

    One message was clear - We cannot live in the shadow of hatred and fear for the rest of our lives. Rest in Peace those who lost their lives. Live in peace the rest of us . . . . .
    Beautifully stated Yatin. I am proud to call you my friend. Thank you for providing these beautiful photos. I'm happy they provided your answer.

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  2. Good job Yatin. We have to show solidarity during any type of disaster in any corner of the world irrespective of nationality,caste or creed.

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  3. Thanks to all who visited and took their time to share their thoughts

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  4. Thanks to all who visited and took their time to share their thoughts

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