This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. spoke on the Senate floor to recognize the five-year anniversary and honor the victims of the tragic terrorist attack at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.
Rubio said the following:
I think most Americans remember that horrifying day five years ago. I remember it was a morning, and I started getting text messages that something horrifpuying had happened in our home state as we turned on the news.
We could see it had already been the deadliest attack on American soil since September 11 of 2001.
And the full horror of that night came into focus as I remember jumping in my truck and driving the three hours to be on the scene.
And it would be a few more days, a few more hours, before we learned that it was an attack that was inspired by an ideology of hatred.
By an individual, who was inspired by, who pledged allegiance to, a foreign terrorist organization, and who in that context appeared there on that evening — an evening of tragedy.
As Senator [Rick] Scott mentioned, it was Latin Night at the Pulse nightclub. This was a well-known nightclub in the LGBTQ community in central Florida. And one would think that the last thing someone’s worried about when they go out for a night with their friends is that they’re going to be attacked by a radical jihadist terrorist in the United States.
We had seen similar attacks in London, in France. The realization that that could happen in Florida — just down the street from a small business furniture store whose owners I had gotten to know — shook everyone. It shook me.
Like most terrorist attacks, it sought not only to bring about death, but also division and fear, to terrorize. And clearly there was a tremendous amount of pain that five years later is still there.
But from it, what also occurred is that it also brought Floridians together, particularly those in central Florida. First, hand in hand, to grieve, and then to preserve the memory of those whose lives were lost.
The outpouring of love and support came not only from Florida, but from Americans all across the United States, who shared in our grief and drew inspiration from the state’s resilience.
Five years later, the process of mourning continues. The process of remembrance continues. But so too is Orlando as united as it was five years ago.
It’s a reminder to us that even with all the challenges and threats we face — the threat of a radical, hateful ideology that can inspire people living here to take such horrifying actions — it’s something that we should remain vigilant about.
And I want to thank my colleague Senator Scott for allowing me to partner with him on this resolution to remember not just that tragic day, and to support the National Pulse Memorial, but also to extend our continued condolences to those who suffered so greatly on that evening.
And to remind the nation how we must remain vigilant against those who seek to terrorize us.