49 SOMBER BELLS: More Than 5000 Gather In Downtown Orlando To Mourn LGBT Victims [VIDEO]

From the Orlando Sentinel:

By the thousands, they came – to grieve, to celebrate, to connect, to declare: “Love wins.”

A massive two-hour vigil for the victims of the Pulse Orlando nightclub shootings Monday evening spilled over the lawn of the Plaza at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center near City Hall, as thousands gathered to cry, embrace, remember and cheer.

“This is my therapy for the day,” said Jimbo Wood, 27, who lost several friends in the Pulse Orlando shootings and came to pass out white candles to the crowd. “I didn’t want to just sit at home and mope. To have busy hands has helped.”

Others passed out water. Some brought flowers. A group of gay men in nun’s habits from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – the charity that grew out of the AIDS epidemic – came to reunite and bring comfort.

As the names of the victims were read, an otherwise noisy crowd fell quiet, with the muffled sobs of survivors.

“Hearing these names echo off these buildings, it’s hitting me even harder today,” Nadine Smith of Equality Florida, which had organized the vigil, said afterward. “I find myself awash in anger, sadness – and also in pride.”

As a nearby church tolled its bell 49 somber times over the hushed crowd, many burst into tears.