DENVER — Vigils were held across Colorado on Monday night to honor the victims killed in a deadly massacre at an Orlando, Fla., gay bar early Sunday morning. The largest vigil took place at Denver’s Cheesman Park.
Early on, organizers figured a couple hundred people might show up. By the evening, that number grew to nearly 2,000.
“To see so many people here supporting this community, it means a great deal,” said Bailea Meeks, who recently moved to Denver from Topeka, Kan.
Even when strong storms pushed into the area, the crowd still grew. Supporters wanted to show the Orlando community how much Denver cares.
“Even though we’re 2,000 miles away Denver has always been a place where people love each other,” said Jamie Lewis, a Denver resident who came out to show his support.
The vigil at Cheesman Park lasted more than an hour. It featured prayer, music and a moment of silence.
“We care. Denver cares,” Lewis said.
Earlier in the day, a smaller gathering took place on the University of Denver campus. Students and staff got together to share their thoughts on the tragedy and to console one another.
“It could have happened to any of us in Denver. I’m so sad for the families and everyone in Orlando,” Julie Wienski said.
Wienski is a lesbian. She and everyone else in attendance at DU’s gathering tried to make sense of what happened in Orlando.
“I think the message is hard because none of it should’ve happened,” Wienski said.
That same sentiment was expressed at other vigils in Colorado. Fort Collins and Greeley hosted remembrance ceremonies Monday as well.