PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – A community coming together as one.
Several vigils were held Thursday to remember those who died after a gunman went on a rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people and injuring more than a dozen.
The noon prayer vigil was held at the Parkridge Church in Coral Springs.
More than a dozen ministers from various churches gathered to preside over the memorial service.
An overflow crowd packed the outdoor service, Gov. Rick Scott was among those in attendance.
The school shooting, the third worst in U.S. history, not only impacted the three thousand students and staff at the school but also the entire nation.
Allison Shonk, a student at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High, teared up remembering those who died, especially assistant coach Aaron Feis, who was killed when he used his body to shield students from gunfire.
“I said ‘hi’ to him almost every morning. All these losses hit really hard for everyone at the school. And, I’m just sorry for all the parents and all the loved ones we lost,” she said.
Another vigil was held at 2:30 p.m. at Pine Trails Park, but the sunset vigil at the park drew the largest crowd.
Perhaps the most memorable image in that crowd of thousands were the 17 angels that took center stage and the friends, family and loved ones who talked about the victims that those angels symbolized.
“This is the park where our children play now there are crosses around it,” said Parkland resident Marilyn Krantz. “This is unfathomable in our community and in any community.”
As well as the people who spoke about the victims.
“We love you and we never want to go through the tragedy of losing you,” said Fred Gutenberg, whose daughter Jamie was killed in the shooting. “I don’t always get to say I love you, I don’t remember if I said that to Jamie yesterday morning.”
So many people have been touched by this horrific tragedy.
“They were my neighbors that we had to bury, or my friend’s siblings that we had to say goodbye to,” added former Stoneman Douglas student Marisa Leal. “There’s really no justice in that except for being there for each other.”
No words could sum up the emotions felt throughout, so people did their best to write them down and held up signs.
Others sang, and many prayed.
And when writing wasn’t enough, Parkland residents carried the burden for others.
“All the people here are here because they love each other every child is our child every loss is our loss,” said Krantz.
The ceremonies only lasted a few hours but the memories will last a lifetime.