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By Amanda Jackson
“Orlando strong, Orlando united” was the message Wednesday night at the Orlando Magic’s season opener.
It has been nearly five months since the central Florida city endured a horrible massacre at a gay nightclub.
“On June 12, 2016, our world changed forever. Forty-nine of our family, friends and neighbors were taken from us too soon, with more than 50 others injured in a horrific tragedy at Pulse,” said the NBA team’s announcer, Paul Porter.
The Magic unveiled a banner that will hang in Amway Center. The flag displays the number 49. Along with the words “Orlando United,” each victim’s name is printed on the back.
“Tonight, we honored their lives, the heroes who emerged early that morning and a healing community that showed the world that love always conquers hate.”
The team took a moment of silence to remember those who were gunned down.
“We are one community, one family and one Orlando,” said Porter.
The unveiling was followed by a performance by Brandon Parsons, who sang “Forty-Nine Times,” a song dedicated to the victims.
Orlando police Officer Gladys Justiniano sang the national anthem.
Omar Mateen, the nightclub gunman, repeatedly told a police hostage negotiator that he was a soldier of ISIS and that the United States had to stop its bombing in Syria and Iraq, according to a police transcript released last month.