Vegas News

Teary Sunrise Remembrance Ceremony honors victims of 1 October shooting

The fifth anniversary of the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting began Saturday morning with a teary Sunrise Remembrance Ceremony at the Clark County Government Center amphitheater.

“We rose from the ashes of our tragedy,” Clark County Commission Chairman Jim Gibson said. “We confronted hate with love, darkness with light. That light shines as brightly today as it did when we emerged Vegas Strong.”

Gibson sat among commissioners Justin Jones, Tick Segerblom, Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Michael Naft at the annual ceremony, which remembers the 60 people killed and hundreds injured in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The massacre unfolded in Las Vegas on the last night of the Route 91 Harvest festival, across from Mandalay Bay.

Rep. Susie Lee, Sen. Jackie Rosen, Attorney General Aaron Ford, and Lt. Gov. Lisa Cano Burkhead also were among the guests who sat quietly on stage.

“Five years ago today, a heinous act of violence rained down on our city, our state and our country,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said. “Fifty-eight plus two people were killed that night, but five years later we will never forget their light.”

Sisolak, Gibson and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo remembered the strangers who cared for their neighbors and the worldwide support for Las Vegas amid tragedy. Gibson recalled the letters he received from around the globe and the way Las Vegas residents emerged in the aftermath: resilient, selfless and strong.

“Those who took care of the person next to them despite not even knowing their names, those who banded together to escape the hail of bullets, they too were heroes in the face of evil.” Lombardo said. “Together, as a community, we can remain resilient. Together, as a community, we will remain Vegas Strong.”

Angela McIldoon told the story of her son, Jordan McIldoon who was among four Canadians killed. He had attended the festival with his girlfriend of two years, and he was days from turning 24 when he died. The heavy-duty mechanic was honored by the Vegas Golden Knights, the Las Vegas Raiders and at a 2018 NASCAR race in Las Vegas.

On Saturday morning, Angela McIldoon remembered those who helped her family in the days after her son’s death. Hundreds silently sniffled away tears while she told the story of bringing her son back to Canada through the former McCarran International Airport without a death certificate.

“By now I’m carrying Jordan’s clear bag with his belongings in it,” she said through tears. “I’m horrified at the thought of opening it up. The TSA agents not only opened a private lane for us, they didn’t make us open anything. They cried and hugged us too.”

The late entrepreneur Tony Hsieh helped pay for Jordan McIldoon’s burial service, and the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center paid for Angela McIldoon’s therapy, she said. Her family has set up a scholarship at Jordan McIldoon’s high school and trade school, and the Jordan McIldoor Legacy Bike Park recently opened near their home.

“I still look for him, and I sometimes see him in the scruffy red beard of a young man in line, or a well worn pair of boots and jeans on someone,” she said. “I look for his bright blue eyes and the shape of his chin and his big smile. It’s never him, but I’ll never stop looking for him and yearning for him to come home.”

The amphitheater is scheduled to host a music festival later Saturday, with performances until 10 p.m.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at [email protected] or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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