A tribute to lives lost
Bless you, Cole NeSmith, Joshua Vickery, 'Maestro Magic' Eric Jacobsen, Mark Fischer and every one of the hundreds of performers, artists, and technicians who created this evening of hope.
I am crazy proud of our city, and I've never been more proud than I was to share this glorious evening with the thousands who cared enough to be a part of the evening — on stage or in the audience. So many friends, so many hug, so many tears, so much love, so much real caring for each other.
We are going through a very real grieving process, and we are doing it with grace and real love for our fellow-man. I lost count of how many friends, some of whom I see every week, some I see once a year, who asked, "You doing OK?"
By the end of this truly glorious performance, it was a question of who cried the most, some of us sharing hankies, napkins, whatever. I even teased Joshua Vickery asking if there was a tear-jerker song that was possibly left out, but tears need to flow.
And tonight (Tuesday night) for the first time since the tragedy, I walked by the memorials that now cover the great lawn, and I realized — I left my crying inside — the "Great Concert" and the love it generated had helped my grieving. I walked by the memorials on the great lawn without breaking down.
I see them. My heart breaks for having lost them and what their loved ones are going through, but the "Great Concert" helped that part of me that needed to be healed. I am a better, stronger person today, because hundreds of Orlando artists chose to come together to share their wonderfully diverse talents and pay tribute to our great city and those whose young lives were cut short by the unimaginable actions of a madman.