PENSACOLA, Fla. — As the investigation into Friday’s mass-shooting unfolds, the tight-knit community in Pensacola came together to grieve and to heal.
There was pain and prayer Saturday at Olive Baptist Church, just outside the main gate at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
It was one of several vigils planned this weekend in the Pensacola area. It allowed people from the community to show solidarity and resiliency - even as the community grieved.
“I think it just gives people a chance to know that other people care,” John Young said. “And, they come around one another and pray and just feel loved.”
Pensacola expressed its grief in other ways, too.
At the city’s well-known graffiti bridge, where people have been leaving personal messages for years, someone had already scrawled a tribute to the victims and survivors of Friday’s shooting.
Neighbors, who have simply driven past for decades without giving the messages a second thought, have been stopping to take photos.
“It kind of warms your heart when you see people do things like this,” Richard Herring said.
“All of our hearts go out to the people that were affected,” said a woman who has lived in the area for more than 20 years. “The people that lost their lives. You know? It’s just terrible,” she said.
Throughout the city, flags were flown at half staff and billboards asked for prayer.
It’s a comfort for those touched by this act of violence. And in Pensacola, that’s not hard to find.
“We love the military. Pensacola is a military town. A navy town,” said Bill Brazzell. “We’re home with a blue Angels. This is huge. I mean, it’s just big. It hurts.”
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