When Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse Nightclub on June 12, he targeted Orlando’s LGBTQ Latino community. The devastating event ended with 49 dead and dozens more wounded. Immediately after, there was an outpouring of support from all corners of the world. One of the most touching tributes came from the city’s MLS team, Orlando City SC, nearly a week after the shooting. The crowd gave the first responders a huge ovation, and they wore rainbow-colored outfits. The jumbo screens displayed the names of the victims. Now – almost seven months later – the Lions have created a permanent memorial for the 49. On Wednesday, the team revealed through its Twitter account 49 rainbow-colored seats with the #OrlandoUnited hashtag on full display.
In aerial shots of the stadium, the seats – located in section 12 and reserved for season ticket holders – stand out in a sea of purple. “Just over six months ago on June the 12th, there was the senseless loss of 49 lives at the Pulse Nightclub,” Orlando City President Phil Rawlins said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “And as a sports, as a community, as a soccer club, we responded to that tragedy in the very best possible way. And 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. And that’s what we did on that Saturday following the Pulse tragedy.”
Rawlins said that from the first time they paid tribute to the victims they made a commitment to their community, which they’ll now honor forever with these seats. “We’re here to commemorate and unveil the 49 rainbow seats that will sit permanently in section 12 of our new stadium as a constant reminder of the senseless acts of June 12,” he added.”
Check out the unveiling below:
The Lions play its season opener on March 5.