Hundreds Gather in Des Moines to Honor Orlando Shooting Victims

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Des Moines Tuesday to honor the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting in Orlando.

One Iowa, the state's leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization hosted the gathering called: "Love is Love is Love.”

People of all walks of life stood together at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park to hold hands and speak out against the senseless violence that killed dozens of innocent people.

“It could have been anywhere. It could have been any of us and I think it’s important for us to band together and support each other in times like this because it can’t continue. This has to be the last time,” said event-goer Alexhis.

The gathering was hosted by the LGBT community, but people of all sexual orientation, race and religion came together as one to show solidarity and remember Orlando.

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie even showed up to show his support.

And in the crowd stood Alicia Markstone, someone for whom the tragedy truly hits close to home.

“I knew several of them. I knew all the entertainers that were in the dressing room, hiding, until the police finally got them out. I knew them personally. They were very close friends,” Markstone said.

Markstone lives in Des Moines now, but she used to live in Orlando and even worked at the Pulse nightclub, where the attack happened, for a decade.

“Many nights, so much I can’t count. It was our home, Pulse was our home,” she said.

Shaken by the shooting, those at the gathering say the attempt to terrorize simply will not work.

“If we start to fear, then we’re going to lose our community and we fought tooth and nail throughout the years to get this community and to have these safe places. Nobody is going to take them away from us,” said Karyn Wood Micheals.

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