Florida lawmakers call for Pulse to be named National Memorial Site

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

ORLANDO | U.S. Representatives Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Darren Soto (FL-09) and Val Demings (FL-10) announced they would like Congress to establish the Pulse nightclub as a federally recognized National Memorial Site.

Pulse owner Barbara Poma joined the Orlando-area representatives at a press conference held at the Pulse interim memorial June 10, two days before the three-year mark of the shooting.

“Establishing the site of Pulse nightclub as a National Historic Site is an important step in honoring those who were taken and ensuring we as a nation remember what happened here on June 12, 2016. In these times when acts of hate and violence are on the rise, we must remember our past and work to do better now and in the future,” said Poma in a press release.

Poma is also the founder and CEO of the onePULSE Foundation, the nonprofit organization formed in the aftermath of the shooting that is handling the efforts to turn Pulse into a permanent memorial and museum.

The designation would grant a “federal designation honoring the 49 lives taken at Pulse, as well as the survivors, first responders and the entire Central Florida community,” according to a joint press release. “A non-National Park Service affiliated federal recognition as a National Memorial site allows for public or private grants.”

The announcement made at Pulse was interrupted by Christine Leinonen—mother of Drew Leinonen, one of the 49 victims—who shouted at Poma as she spoke to the crowd. Two police officers escorted her out of the ceremony, and they were followed by two state lawmakers and a city commissioner who talked to Leinonen for several minutes while the ceremony continued, according to The Associated Press (AP) who spoke with Leinonen after the ceremony.

“My son’s blood is on her hands, and she’s walking around like she’s the hero,” said Leinonen to the AP. “This is Orlando. This is where everyone wants to be in a fairy tale. Well, guess what? My son wasn’t in a fairy tale. My son was in a real-life horror movie.”

Poma addressed the outburst to reporters afterwards, saying “Christine is a grieving mom. Everyone does it differently, and this is a rough week for every mother, every survivor and every first responder.”

onePULSE plans to build the National Pulse Memorial and Museum that will include the Orlando Health Survivors Walkway – slated to open in 2022 – on the site of the Pulse nightclub and nearby properties.

Share this story: