Thousands gathered to remember 49 people killed inside an Orlando nightclub two years ago

Thousands gathered around the country overnight on Monday and throughout Tuesday to remember the 49 people killed inside an Orlando nightclub two years ago, writes

Some held signs and others candles during evening vigils, as survivors spoke about the night and the friends they had lost.

Brandon Wolf, who was in the bathroom of the LGBT venue when the massacre began, told a crowd of hundreds at Orlando's City Hall Plaza he was disappointed nothing had been done to make the nation safer since, The Independent reported.

'Two years ago, I was washing my hands in a bathroom sink when I heard an assault rifle fire 45 rounds in one minute,' he said on Monday.

'I learned those rounds killed 13 of my best friends.

'But the real crime here is that my story isn't unique anymore: We live in an America where our leaders would rather beg for money from the NRA [National Rifle Association] than do something to protect our children.'

Mourners chose not to dwell on the shooter as they grieved their friends and family, instead using the service to celebrate the love and unity shown in the wake of the shooting. 

Early on Tuesday morning, 49 people dressed as angels and carrying candles descended on Pulse Nightclub to support friends and families of the victims ahead of a private memorial service.

The angels were also seen at the funerals of victims farewelled in the days after the massacre, stationing themselves to protect mourners from anti-gay protesters.

A blood bank was present, signifying the incredible effort Orlando residents went to to supply blood for the injured in the wake of the attack. 

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said the reaction throughout the city following the attack and in the two years since was the best memorial for the victims.

'Your loved ones, our 49 angels, they did not die in vain,' she told the crowd. 

'They absolutely did not die in vain, but the only reason they did not die in vain was because of our love and our resiliency, and we have to carry that forward every day.'

A moment of silence was held, and hundreds flocked to a temporary memorial outside the nightclub, where at 2.02am on June 12, 2016, 29-year-old gunman Omar Mateen, a U.S. citizen of Afghan descent, opened fire with an AR-15-style assault rifle and a pistol.

Family members read out the names of those they had lost, as the bells of the First United Methodist Church rang out 49 times. 

The church was joined by others in all 50 states at noon, as well as churches in Puerto Rico, Canada and Ecuador, WMFE reported.  

In addition to the 49 killed, another 53 were injured in the rapid gunfire. The shooting was, at the time, the deadliest in modern US history. 

Pulse nightclub never reopened, The Orlando Sentinel reported, but the temporary memorial that welcomed hundreds on Tuesday will be taken over by a more permanent redesign, expected to be completed in two years.  

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared June 12 Pulse Remembrance Day in Florida, ABC reported. He also ordered state flags in Florida to be lowered to half-mast from sunrise to sunset.

Many city landmarks were lit up in rainbow colors, including the Lake Eola Park fountain, Orange County Convention Center, History Center and the Orlando Eye.

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