ORLANDO, Fla. — U.S. Congress members from the Orlando area are pushing for the Pulse nightclub site to become a national memorial.
- Legislators want Congress to designate Pulse as national memorial
- UCF held remembrance ceremony for 2 students Monday
- RELATED: Pulse Nightclub to be Site of Permanent Memorial
- EVENTS: Pulse Tributes Taking Place in Orlando Area
There’s already a temporary memorial in place at the site — as well as plans for a permanent one — but the legislation that Democratic U.S. Reps. Darren Soto, Val Demings, and Stephanie Murphy plan to file would declare the Pulse nightclub site a federally recognized national memorial.
"I hope we all remember the love the victims and their loved ones brought into this world will always be stronger than the hate that stole their lives on that day. And I’m proud to play a role in honoring their memories," Murphy said during an announcement at Pulse in Orlando on Monday.
The designation would open the possibility for grant funding for long-term plans for a memorial — plans that are already underway under the direction of the onePulse Foundation.
""The 49 lives taken here were not in vain, and most importantly that they mattered," Pulse owner Barbara Poma said. "What happened here mattered, and what happened after was a significant global response, all of which needs to become one of the national historical sights of our country."
India Godman was at the nightclub on the night of the massacre. Before that fateful night, she would often go there to unwind and have a good time, sometimes with her son.
"If you had a crazy week at work or an argument at home or just a bad week in general, you would come here and enjoy the night and have fun," Godman recalled.
She and her son were there together the night of June 12, 2016, when a gunman opened fire, killing 49 people and injuring almost 70 others. Luckily, the two were not injured physically.
Godman joined other Pulse survivors and victims' families who joined Monday’s announcement.
"The love will always remain and the love and support will always be here," Godman said. "And that’s the meaningful part and the beauty is never forgetting."
Just recently, the onePulse Foundation selected six architecture firms to come up with a design for the National Pulse Memorial and Museum.
PREVIEW: This week we reflect on the three years it’s been since the tragedy at @onePULSEorg. We pay tribute to our 49, and honor those who helped.— Greg Angel (@NewsGuyGreg) June 10, 2019
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"We gave them the six words from the survey... (that) 2,200 people took shortly after the tragedy, and those six words were very important. They were love, hope, unity, courage, strength, and acceptance," Poma said. "So we know that's a very big part of our design brief."
A panel will select the best design for the permanent memorial and museum at the end of October.
The onePulse Foundation hopes to have the permanent tribute completed by June 2022, in time for the sixth anniversary of the attack.
Congress will have to approve the federal designation filed by the Congress members before the Pulse site can become a national memorial. Murphy said she expects that will happen.
A public ceremony with community leaders, including Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, to honor the lives of those lost at Pulse is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, which marks the third anniversary of the attack.