UPDATED 7:00 PM PT – Sunday, February 14, 2021
Americans nationwide mourned as Valentines Day marked three years since a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took the lives of 17 students and teachers in Parkland.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) issued a statewide order on Sunday for flags to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset, also requesting Flordians take a moment of silence at 3 p.m.
Our state and nation will never forget February 14, 2018.
We remember the 17 innocent lives that were lost on that tragic day. Their legacies will endure. pic.twitter.com/PGYf00CjOB
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 14, 2021
Dozens gathered in cities across Florida to honor the lives lost, including Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina Montalto was one of the victims killed.
“It’s very difficult day,” Montalto said. “Although every day has been very difficult since my beautiful daughter Gina Rose Montalto was murdered at her school. Each day our family is not whole, and my wife and my son and myself are reminded of that, of a huge missing part of our lives.”
Back in 2018, a former student of Stoneman Douglas opened fire on campus, senselessly killing 14 students and three staff members, while wounding another 17 within minutes.
In light of the commemoration, Joe Biden called upon Congress to strengthen gun laws, a measure in which family and loved ones of the victims have embarked on.
Three years ago today, a lone gunman took the lives of 14 students and three educators in Parkland, Florida. In seconds, the lives of dozens of families were changed forever. As we mourn with the Parkland community, we mourn for all who have lost loved ones to gun violence. pic.twitter.com/k050oDHXIi
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 14, 2021
In a bid campaign against gun violence, the parents of Joaquin Oliver, who was also killed in the shooting, plan to send “shame cards” to lawmakers, hoping they’ll take action.
“It’s an artistic collection that shows cities of the United States that have suffered mass shootings,” Oliver said. “These images are very impactful. They show the whole process, even the shooter in some of them.”
Several commemoration events took place throughout Sunday, and family members and loved ones reminded others not to let the event be forgotten in the days to come.