Normally, a building or monument lit up in the vivid colors of the rainbow is a sign of celebration, jubilation, equality.
Last night (and likely during nights to come), the kaleidoscopic light displays illuminating these structures — structures both instantly recognizable across the world and only more regionally famous — will serve as a somber sign of solidarity with the city of Orlando, Florida, and the global LGBT community.
Orlando, Florida’s fourth largest city, is best known as being home to Walt Disney World and a host of other theme parks. During the early hours of Sunday morning, normally sunshine-y Orlando was plunged into darkness when a lone gunman entered Pulse, a popular gay nightclub, and opened fire.
By late Sunday morning, the tragic details of what transpired inside of Pulse began to emerge. In an unspeakable act of evil cut short by the heroics of first responders, the gunman had killed 49 people and injured 53 other club patrons, many of whom are still struggling to survive. It is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history,
While there are the immediate victims of the massacre, there are also victims beyond those who lost their lives: friends, family members, the wounded, those who viewed Pulse as a lifeline and safe haven.
During times like these, when those directly and indirectly impacted by such a horrific event might be feeling vulnerable and confused, it helps to pause for a moment and tune out the partisan bickering — that crazy-making and anger-inducing noise — and look at photographs of buildings and monuments.
Architectural landmarks, many already beautiful and evocative without special lighting, made even more beautiful by the rainbow — a potent symbol of hope, acceptance, individuality and, most importantly, strength and perseverance against all odds.
And even when these multi-hued light displays are switched off and the rainbow flags are eventually retired (likely not anytime soon considering that it is Pride Month in the U.S.), it also helps to keep in mind that, in the end, love does indeed win.
The Orlando Eye
Eiffel Tower, Paris
1 World Trade Center, New York City
The Space Needle, Seattle
Lowry Avenue Bridge, Minneapolis
The Lowry Avenue bridge will be lit rainbow in memory of the Orlando shooting victims pic.twitter.com/5jJ3cQcor7— Hennepin County (@Hennepin) June 13, 2016
San Francisco City Hall
Paris City Hall
Memorial Bridge, Nashville
Tel Aviv City Hall
Bond Bridge, Kansas City
New York City Hall
Sky Tower, Auckland
Tonight the Sky Tower has been lit up in rainbow colours to honour those 50 people lost in the Orlando shooting. pic.twitter.com/OCkZXvN6Lx— nzherald (@nzherald) June 13, 2016
Houston City Hall
Houston City Hall is sporting the colors of the rainbow tonight in memory of the victims of the Orlando massacre.https://t.co/SRmsrovh5w— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) June 13, 2016
Helmsley Building, New York City
Gateshead Millenium Bridge, England
Story Bridge, Brisbane
The Dallas skyline
CenturyLink Field, Seattle