-- One month after 49 people were killed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, 49 white crosses representing the victims were transferred today from the Orlando Regional Medical Center to be permanently preserved and displayed at the Orlando County Regional History Center.
The crosses were draped with individual shrouds and loaded onto trucks and vans for the transfer. The history center will be actively removing items from various temporary memorial sites for preservation.
"Today marks the one-month mark since the darkest day in our city," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer during a ceremony at the Orlando Health campus, where most of the victims were hospitalized following the June 12 massacre.
"This memorial will stay with us in our heart," said Diana Bolívar, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Metro Orlando. "It may move from here, but it will stay in our hearts."
The Orlando Police Department provided a motorcade to accompany the crosses on their journey as part of the One Orlando Collection initiative, which was established following the shooting in order to preserve history and properly care for thousands of tribute items that were created following the tragedy, Orlando Health said in a press release.
Out of the 53 who were injured in the shooting, four patients remain in the hospital, Orlando Health President David Strong announced Tuesday. Two patients are in acute care, with one in critical condition and the other in stable condition, while the other two patients are in rehab. A total of 71 surgeries were performed on the victims as of yesterday, Strong said.
Removing the crosses from the hospital campus is part of the healing process, Dyer said.
The crosses were designed by Illinois artist Greg Zanis, who traveled more than 1,200 miles from his home the week after the shooting to place the wooden crosses alongside Lake Beauty on the Orlando Health campus, just outside the hospital.
A permanent memorial will also be put in its place at the Orlando Regional Medical Center.