These Photos Of Vigils For Las Vegas Are Overwhelming & So Moving
On the night of Sunday, Oct. 1, the country was rocked by news of a mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival that left dozens dead and hundreds injured. The tragedy is the largest mass shooting in United States history, and around the country, the shock of it is just starting to sink in. As the nation sank into mourning on Oct. 2, photos of vigils for Las Vegas showed the depth of the horror the country is feeling.
At least 59 people were killed on Sunday evening when a gunman opened fire from a hotel room overlooking the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas. More than 500 were injured. The shooting takes the grim record for the largest mass shooting in the United States from last summer’s shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which left 49 people dead and another 58 wounded.
As news of the deaths, information about the alleged gunman, and details of the horrific night poured in, many responded with a desire to show support and grief for those affected. In many towns and cities around the country, vigils were quickly set up.
In Las Vegas itself, multiple vigils were organized for the evening after the massacre took place.
On the steps of the Las Vegas City Hall on Oct. 2, mourners lit 59 candles for each of the 59 people killed Sunday night, including a kindergarten teacher, a registered nurse, and a police records technician.
After the vigil at City Hall officially ended, many attendees chose to stay for what one person called a "jam prayer sesh," singing and praying in tribute to those killed and wounded.
An interfaith vigil at the Guardian Angel Cathedral on the Las Vegas Strip, held Monday, was so packed that there was standing room only, according to tweets posted by reporters from The Nevada Independent.
Religious leaders rang a gong 59 times to commemorate the 59 lives lost.
Another candlelight vigil on the Las Vegas Strip also gathered many.
Social media photos from Huffington Post reporter Matt Ferner showed hundreds of attendees with candles and flowers mourning those lost and injured.
In Nashville, a city that bills itself as the Country Music Capital of the World, the violence at a country music concert hit especially hard.
Even worse — Nashville is still reeling from its own mass shooting following the Sept. 24 attack at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in nearby Antioch. In that shooting, one person was killed and seven were wounded.
Speaking at the vigil, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry pointed out that the violence was becoming all too common. "This is the second Monday night in a row that we've had a vigil in Nashville the day after a horrific mass shooting," she said. "Death visited two places where people were simply doing the things to give life meaning and give life joy."
Country music stars and mourners gathered to pay tribute to the tragedy with a vigil and concert.
Though some vigils around the country are being arranged for coming days, there was no shortage of mourners on the day after the tragedy.
In New York City, college students at New York University held their own vigil on the steps of a campus building on the afternoon of Oct. 2.
In Alexandria, Virginia, mourners gathered in Market Square to show their support.
And in Portland, Oregon, mourners gathered carrying candles.
In the coming days, more vigils are planned, including ones in New York, Washington D.C., and San Diego. You can find one near you, or if there aren't any nearby, there's always the option of organizing your own.
And if you want to help in the meantime, there are a few options.
If you live in the Las Vegas area, authorities have said that they are in need of blood donations. But even if you're far away, you can still help by donating to aid organizations and counseling services, or even just spreading the word about how to try to get in touch with missing loved ones. In these moments, anything helps.