John Locher / AP
Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 | 3:44 p.m.
Tony and Linda Blache of Las Vegas wore matching black T-shirts with Route 91 printed on them — a reference to the music festival that turned tragic last year when a gunman opened fire on the crowd, killing 58 people and wounding more than 800 others.
The couple bowed their heads in prayer in one moment and lifted them in joy moments later.
“We’re an example for the world,” Tony Blache said. “Las Vegas has shined in the face of tragedy.”
The couple were among a group of about 150 people who gathered today outside Las Vegas City Hall for a revival-style prayer vigil to remember and celebrate the lives the victims. A gunman, perched in a hotel tower across the street, opened fire on concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest festival on the other side of the Las Vegas Strip.
Several Las Vegas Valley preachers spoke words of encouragement at today’s ceremony, as guitarists and keyboard players provided a background of soothing music. A 10-member choir chanted contemporary faith hymns.
People wore shirts with messages like #VegasStronger and simple white shirts with a red heart next to the word Vegas.
Pastor Paul Goulet, who heads the International Church of Las Vegas, told the crowd the gunman was filled with hate. But those who came together in support of one another after the shooting demonstrated the overwhelming power of love.
“At some point we had to put our differences aside and get together,” Goulet said. “I believe it’s time to say hate has not won. Love and unity are going to win.”
The group prayed for each of the 58 victims.
“We’ve affected the world by showing love and compassion for one another during that time,” said Mike Hatch, a pastor with the Balm of Gilead Global Ministries. “We’ve shown that Las Vegas is not Sin City but rather the City of Peace.”