Orlando nightclub shooting that happened on June 12, 2016, was the deadliest mass shooting in the USA at that time. It took 49 lives and affected hundreds, if not thousands. Two years after this horrific tragedy, those who survived still carry it with them. 


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A year ago, a company called "Dear World" teamed up with photographer Daymon Gardner to create a photoshoot titled "Dear Orlando", honoring the victims and their families. "Dear World honors the people who passed away, saved lives, comforted the injured and buried loved ones," Robert X. Fogarty, Dear World founder, told Orlando Weekly. The project focuses on people who were affected by the horrific loss. It recounts experiences of those who went through the bloodshed, as well as people who helped the victims. Despite the tremendous loss, "Dear Orlando" shows that those who were lost are not forgotten and, above all, teaches us not to forget, as painful and horrifying it might be. Scroll down below to see the captivating photographs of "Dear Orlando" and read the stories.

More info: Dear World | Daymond Gardner

#1 Batman. Superman. Hulk. He Said I Was His Favorite

Batman. Superman. Hulk. He Said I Was His Favorite

"My son comes in. He brought me all these little gifts he made in class. Then I read his paper and I broke down. My son's a really big DC Comics fan. He loves superheroes. He made this poster: Batman is smart, Superman is fast, the Hulk is strong, but my dad is my favorite superhero." - Rodney Sumter, bartender at Pulse who was shot 4 times.

Daymon Gardner Report

Agnes Jekyll 2 months ago

I'm so sorry. So sorry.

#2 I Wish They Could Have Answered Their Phones

I Wish They Could Have Answered Their Phones

"Phones start ringing all over the place. The one that gets me is the one iPhone that was next to my feet that just kept going and going and going. I'm looking at the wall, I'm looking at the opening and I looked down, I looked back up, looked down, looked back up. I knew what it was. It was a phone but it kept catching me off guard. I... Read More

"Phones start ringing all over the place. The one that gets me is the one iPhone that was next to my feet that just kept going and going and going. I'm looking at the wall, I'm looking at the opening and I looked down, I looked back up, looked down, looked back up. I knew what it was. It was a phone but it kept catching me off guard. I would see the caller ID, the picture. I was like, 'I know this person's never going to be able to pick up this phone again.'" - Omar Delgado, Orlando police officer.

Daymon Gardner Report

Christine K 2 months ago

Second post in this trail and i have a lump in my throat.

#3 Where's My Night Night?

Where's My Night Night?

“I would text him "Night, Night." And he would always text back, "Night, night, I love you." But that night, there was no "Night, Night," because I knew he was at the club. I had sent mine. And he sent me "I love you." But he didn’t send his "Night, Night" because he was out. I saw in my mind, I saw him lying face down. I said "Wow, I... Read More

“I would text him "Night, Night." And he would always text back, "Night, night, I love you." But that night, there was no "Night, Night," because I knew he was at the club. I had sent mine. And he sent me "I love you." But he didn’t send his "Night, Night" because he was out. I saw in my mind, I saw him lying face down. I said "Wow, I understand where he is, he is lying face down." Because in my mind I saw it. [T]hey told me, "We found that he was not alive, because we found his ID. We found him face down." He took a piece of me” - Dimarie Rodriguez, mother of Jean Carlos Nieves Rodriguez who was a victim of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Daymon Gardner Report

WellSea7 2 months ago

Heart shattering.

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#4 We Were Just Enjoying The Music

We Were Just Enjoying The Music

"You can probably tell by the bags under my eyes, I have a hard time sleeping. Honestly, it's been a rough year. I go to counseling. I think it's more the fact that I don't take anything for granted anymore. Sometimes my son will want to do something or my wife will want to do something. I'm just so tired. Now I make the time to actually say, 'Okay. You... Read More

"You can probably tell by the bags under my eyes, I have a hard time sleeping. Honestly, it's been a rough year. I go to counseling. I think it's more the fact that I don't take anything for granted anymore. Sometimes my son will want to do something or my wife will want to do something. I'm just so tired. Now I make the time to actually say, 'Okay. You know what? Let's go ahead and go.'" - Ray Rivera, a DJ at Pulse.

Daymon Gardner Report

Mimis Nachbarin 1 month ago

Go!

#5 I Kissed You Hello, I Never Kissed You Goodbye

I Kissed You Hello, I Never Kissed You Goodbye

"Us guys in the gay community, we kiss each other on the cheeks hello. That's what us Latin people do. I was happy to see him as I was going to the bathroom with my friend. 'Hey, how you doing, Anthony?' We hugged, I gave him a kiss. 'Hope you enjoy your night and have a good night.' I went to the bathroom. Within minutes, I started hearing all those... Read More

"Us guys in the gay community, we kiss each other on the cheeks hello. That's what us Latin people do. I was happy to see him as I was going to the bathroom with my friend. 'Hey, how you doing, Anthony?' We hugged, I gave him a kiss. 'Hope you enjoy your night and have a good night.' I went to the bathroom. Within minutes, I started hearing all those gunshots. I saw him and I kissed him hello, I was in the hospital bed when I saw his picture pop up as one of the 49." - Orlando Torres, a Pulse club shooting survivor.

Daymon Gardner Report

#6 You're Her, Aren't You?

You're Her, Aren't You?

"Before Pulse, I was the mom who dropped you off and picked you up every day, made your lunch, made your breakfast, had dinner ready. A pretty traditional mom, I would think. I’d go to all your sporting events and had your calendar and kept you organized and on top of your grades and knew where you were, where you were going, your friends. Since June 12, 2016, I'm none... Read More

"Before Pulse, I was the mom who dropped you off and picked you up every day, made your lunch, made your breakfast, had dinner ready. A pretty traditional mom, I would think. I’d go to all your sporting events and had your calendar and kept you organized and on top of your grades and knew where you were, where you were going, your friends. Since June 12, 2016, I'm none of those things. I miss being a mom. It's almost like being infamous, because it's not what I asked for. I'm always going to be the owner of Pulse. I'm just always going to be that person. I'm always going to be her. I've had that conversation with them. 'We're always going to be those ... We're going to be that family forever.' Not that it's a bad thing, but it changes your life." - Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse nightclub.

Daymon Gardner Report

#7 I Went To The Bedroom And He Wasn't There

I Went To The Bedroom And He Wasn't There

"I went to sleep. 2:06 a.m., I got a text. I love you Mom. I went to his apartment. I went in and I was like, he's here, I see shoes, I wasn't there more than ten minutes and the FBI called." - Mina Justice, whose son, Eddie Justice, was killed in the attack. She described rushing to her son's apartment as soon as she heard about the shooting.

Daymon Gardner Report

Agnes Jekyll 2 months ago

Oh lord, this is just so wrong. I know that can't bring him back--but we have to make sure this doesn't happen again. That's not enough, I know. I just don't know what else to do.

#8 I'm Going To Get You That Watch

I'm Going To Get You That Watch

"I was in a coma for three weeks. On July 3rd, I woke up. The first person I saw was my mother. She was right there next to me because my mother never left my side. I remember seeing her and she started crying. 'Where's Javier?' That was the first thing I asked. She didn't say anything. She just stood quiet. A nurse came, other people came. We didn't talk... Read More

"I was in a coma for three weeks. On July 3rd, I woke up. The first person I saw was my mother. She was right there next to me because my mother never left my side. I remember seeing her and she started crying. 'Where's Javier?' That was the first thing I asked. She didn't say anything. She just stood quiet. A nurse came, other people came. We didn't talk about Javier until the next day. I asked her again. That's when she told me. 'You have to be strong. Javier is gone.'" – Leo Melendez, survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting, friend of Javier Jorge Reyes, who died that night.

Daymon Gardner Report

Mimis Nachbarin 1 month ago

This is truly heartbreaking. I am in tears.

#9 I Danced To The Beat Of Someone's Death

I Danced To The Beat Of Someone's Death

"The first three shots: I thought it was music. I felt the bass in my body on the floor against that wall. I felt it. I saw it. I thought it was the music. Then glass shattering, the air filling with smoke. The flashing of the gun looked like a strobe light. Everyone getting down." - Chris Hansen, a survivor.

Daymon Gardner Report

Helen Leeds 2 months ago

I'm sorry you're left with that memory.

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#10 I Couldn't Give Her The Answer She Wanted

I Couldn't Give Her The Answer She Wanted

"Leslie, one of our lead volunteers, didn't know how to handle this one call. It was a mother asking where her son is. 'Have we heard from her son?' I took the phone. 'Ma'am, I apologize, but at this time we have not heard from your son. But if we do, we will take down your number and call you back immediately.' Of course, we never did. And that haunts... Read More

"Leslie, one of our lead volunteers, didn't know how to handle this one call. It was a mother asking where her son is. 'Have we heard from her son?' I took the phone. 'Ma'am, I apologize, but at this time we have not heard from your son. But if we do, we will take down your number and call you back immediately.' Of course, we never did. And that haunts me." - Rob Domenico, a former board member of The Center in Orlando, a center for the LGBTQ community.

Daymon Gardner Report

Nancy Seton 2 months ago

Man, these images and stories are making me ugly cry immensely. Just reading them is so heartbreaking and wrenching. Let alone trying to imagine being in their shoes... None of these people deserved this cruelty. It's quite literally sickening.

#11 In The Darkness Of My Hospital Room I Forgave Him

In The Darkness Of My Hospital Room I Forgave Him

"I will never forget. But in order for me to do well for myself, for my family, in order to lift other people up, I want them to be able to at least talk to me, someone who went through tragedy. And forgiveness was part of the process. When you think of forgiveness, there is a specific thing that you have to forgive. There's a specific person you have to... Read More

"I will never forget. But in order for me to do well for myself, for my family, in order to lift other people up, I want them to be able to at least talk to me, someone who went through tragedy. And forgiveness was part of the process. When you think of forgiveness, there is a specific thing that you have to forgive. There's a specific person you have to forgive. So yes, it was in my head, this guy who did this. I forgive you." - Angel Colon, a Pulse shooting survivor.

Daymon Gardner Report

WellSea7 2 months ago

I know this feeling , having to forgive someone your mind & heart first wants to hate. I'm glad you were able to do that, I too, was able to forgive. We just never know what any day will hold. Try to show, with your actions, how much people mean to you. Godspeed.

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#12 But I Have To Leave, It's Time

But I Have To Leave, It's Time

"I wake up. I'm not even crying. I'm smiling. Like I feel my lips at times, and at that time it felt so real, and I've never felt that before. I called his mom and she’s said, “I'm the only one who hasn't had a dream of him”. She thinks that it's because maybe he doesn't want to hurt her more than she's already hurting or something. Maybe... Read More

"I wake up. I'm not even crying. I'm smiling. Like I feel my lips at times, and at that time it felt so real, and I've never felt that before. I called his mom and she’s said, “I'm the only one who hasn't had a dream of him”. She thinks that it's because maybe he doesn't want to hurt her more than she's already hurting or something. Maybe she's not ready to see him in a dream" - Luis Roldan, survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Daymon Gardner Report

#13 Nowhere Left To Hide

Nowhere Left To Hide

"Throughout my life, especially when I was younger, I had nightmares where someone’s chasing me and I’m running and hiding. I find somewhere to hide, a closet, and sure enough I’m found. That night was just like that but this time it was real." - Angel Santiago, a survivor.

Daymon Gardner Report

#14 Small Towns Fade

Small Towns Fade

"I remember I was carrying somebody's shoes and shirt because I didn't want them to get left behind. For whatever reason. I remember looking down and they were covered in blood. I just dropped them. I remember carrying Stanley Almodovar to the pickup truck where they were shuttling people to the hospital. He's a regular of mine. He came in every Saturday. Drank gin and tonic every week. I said,... Read More

"I remember I was carrying somebody's shoes and shirt because I didn't want them to get left behind. For whatever reason. I remember looking down and they were covered in blood. I just dropped them. I remember carrying Stanley Almodovar to the pickup truck where they were shuttling people to the hospital. He's a regular of mine. He came in every Saturday. Drank gin and tonic every week. I said, 'Keep your eyes open, keep your eyes open, keep your eyes open.'" - Kate Maini, a survivor and former bartender at Pulse.

Daymon Gardner Report

Agnes Jekyll 2 months ago

Oh lord.

#15 "Hey, Do You Mind If I Take A Photo With You?"

"Hey, Do You Mind If I Take A Photo With You?"

"I went back to work the very next day. All of my gay friends that aren't law enforcement officers were going to all these events. They held vigils. They were all bonding together and grieving. It was difficult because I had to go right back to work. You go back into police mode and you're not able to grieve like you should. It was a big part of my PTSD.... Read More

"I went back to work the very next day. All of my gay friends that aren't law enforcement officers were going to all these events. They held vigils. They were all bonding together and grieving. It was difficult because I had to go right back to work. You go back into police mode and you're not able to grieve like you should. It was a big part of my PTSD. Some of it came from resentment, not being able to grieve with my community." - Alison Clarke, one of the first responders.

Daymon Gardner Report