Chestertown held hands with the nation and the wider world last night, mourning yet another epochal tragedy, this time in Orlando Florida.
For some, it was hard not to openly weep during the vigil in remembrance of the 49 victims of the Florida Pulse nightclub massacre.
Hosted by Chestertown’s PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), the evening service was held at the Lelia Hynson Pavilion in Wilmer Park.
Introduced by PFLAG Chapter President Linda Dutton, with readings by Retired Rev Jane Ayers and WC Professor Kevin Brien, the names of each victim along with a descriptive highlight of their lives was read aloud by participants at the ceremony. A bell was rung after each name, and a flower offered to the river for each of the lost.
Here are a few minutes from the service.
Purpose of Vigil by Retired Rev. Jane Ayers
We have come together this evening because the world broke our hearts (again). We come together, as day begins to wane, to stand in solidarity with survivors and responders forever marked by the massacre in Orlando and to share the sorrow of lives lost. We will remember them.
In the mix of emotions, we cry out in pain and disbelief. We mourn. And, we are not alone. Here, as friends, families, neighbors, secular and faith communities, gathered in this place, we seek to embody signs of hope, to be present to each other and to reject hatred and violence. United in love we strive to be light in the darkness.
In the weeks and months ahead, though tears and heaviness may nip at our heels, and the thorn of inadequate explanations of the Pulse tragedy pierce our minds, I pray peace and healing and especially love will weave themselves in and around and through us and be the brighter thread to illumine our days.
In the Aftermath of the Massacre in Orlando / by Kevin Brien
Oh great cosmic sprit! Oh great ocean of being from which all things flow, and back to which all things return!
Just as our brothers and sisters killed in Orlando came from your immense vastness, stayed here a while, and then return again to that vastness; so too is it with these flowers.
Today we hold these flowers, but newly dead, in mindful remembrance of those murdered in Orlando who also are but newly dead.
As these flowers have come from you, but soon return again to you; so all beings come from you, and all return again to you.
Receive each flower into your vast embrace, as you have received the bodies and spirits of our dead brothers and sisters in Orlando into your vast embrace.
Embrace our flowers! — Embrace our dead! — Embrace us too, still living—in your vast embrace!
In memory of:
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old