Orlando City honors Pulse victims in new stadium
Orlando City Soccer Club president Phil Rawlins held a private ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 4 where he unveiled 49 rainbow-colored seats honoring the 49 Pulse Nightclub shooting victims.
The seats, which honor the people killed in the Orlando gay nightclub on June 12, are in section 12. The new stadium is set to open in March at the start of the 2017 Major League Soccer season.
Each seat features a #OrlandoUnited stamp, memorializing one of the tragedy’s victims. This memorial will be a permanent feature in the new stadium that can seat up 25,500 people.
“Just over six months ago on June the 12th, there was the senseless loss of 49 lives at the Pulse Nightclub,” Rawlins said in the video of the private ceremony the club released. “As a sport, as a community, as a soccer club, we responded to that tragedy in the very best possible way.”
According to Rawlins, the seats were placed in section 12 because it will serve “as a constant reminder of the senseless acts of June 12.”
On June 18, Orlando City played a home game and paid tribute to the victims of the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
“It was my belief, I know it’s your belief as a club, that this sport can lift up a community and help to heal a community,” Rawlins said. “And that’s what we did on that Saturday following the Pulse tragedy. We made a commitment on that day that, which is that we would commemorate, forever, in the new stadium a memory of the 49 victims that lost their lives that day. And, today we’re here to do that.”