Sunday, September 26, 2021

Thousands gather to mourn victims of Florida school shooting

People hold candles during a candlelight vigil at the Amphitheater at Pine Trails Park, Parkland, Florida, USA, 15 February 2018. The vigil honors victims of a mass shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on 14 February that left 17 dead. EFE

Parkland, United States, Feb 15 (EFE).- Thousands of people gathered Thursday at an open-air amphitheater in Pine Trails Park to remember the 17 victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The mourners were moved to tears when the father of a 14-year-old girl, Jamie Guttenberg, one of the victims, spoke about her.

“Jamie was the light of the party,” he said, adding that after he lost his brother to cancer last year he thought the pain was unbearable but what he has experienced since he lost his daughter was infinitely worse.

He regretted that he did not say goodbye to his daughter when she left for school that morning and urged parents to hug and kiss their children every day and to tell them they love them.

Hundreds of community members take part in a candlelight vigil at the Amphitheater at Pine Trails Park, Parkland, Florida, USA, 15 February 2018. The vigil honors victims of a mass shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on 14 February that left 17 dead. EFE

Next to him on the stage, authorities and religious leaders appealed for unity in the face of this tremendous tragedy.

During the vigil, hundreds of people laid flowers and lit candles near pictures of the 17 victims and wrote messages of sympathy, support and hope.

There were also messages condemning the National Rifle Association, the powerful arms lobby in the country that is opposed to greater gun regulation in the country.

People held up posters that said “Enough is enough” and “NRA stop killing our children.”

Wednesday’s shooting, which was allegedly perpetrated by suspect Nikolas Cruz, comes a year and half after a mass shooting in gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, also in Florida, that had killed 49.