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Pulse Victims Remembered At Arena Event; Local Churches, Synagogues Stand In Unity

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As hundreds gathered at Pulse nightclub to mark the one-year anniversary of the worst mass shooting in the U.S. in modern history, their pain and unity were also felt in South Florida.

One by one, 49 names were read – the names of the Pulse nightclub shooting victims.

“To go there and to know that I can’t call him. It’s the worst feeling in the world. That I can’t…”

Those were the words from a man who lost his best friend in the shooting. He says it has been a difficult year, but he feels the love of this community.

“I’m lost for words. I’m just very happy that the community can come as one and love the world everywhere,” he said.

Pridelines, the Miami Police Department and the Miami Heat hosted a one year anniversary gathering at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Through song and dance and a candlelight vigil, they remembered those lost in the tragedy.

Earlier in the day, from St. Mary’s in Miami to Kendall United Methodist Church, cathedral bells round out at noon 49 times in remembrance of those who lost their lives.

“For us, it’s very important to remember what happened. We don’t support hate and anytime there’s hate, it’s just something that we want to stand against, we as a community want to remind everybody that there’s no room for hate in our country,” said Rev. Ruben Velasco with Kendall United Methodist Church.

Houses of worship throughout the country were invited to ring their bells, but the Bet Shira Congregation had no bells, but there were years of tradition.

“Our tradition talks about the shofar, the ram’s horn, which is sounded on Rosh Hashanah and beginning of the new year and historically it was sounded at a time to battle, it was sounded at a time of a new era, a time of peace in the world,” said Rabbi Mark Kula.

And so the ancient horn was sounded, a wake-up call in a show of unity and strength.

“That racism, bigotry, is just unacceptable and that we need to see our fellow human beings no matter what their persuasion, how they live their lives, they need to be looked at as an image of God,” said Rabbi Kula. “We can actually transform ourselves into a better society and the sound of the shofar, the sound of the bells, gets our attention that this can come true.”

The rabbi said he received several calls from families of those who died or were injured, in the Pulse nightclub shooting to thank him for his participation.

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