Las Vegas is coming up on a somber anniversary, a date which changed our city forever.
Late in the evening of October 1, as music fans were enjoying the final act of a three-day country music event, a crazed gunman hellbent on causing massive destruction, opened fire from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay. The thousands of fans attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival across the street were defenseless as the carnage began at 10:10 p.m. and continued for several minutes.
We had seen senseless acts of violence too many times in other communities and we always shook our heads as we watched the images on our flat-screen televisions in the aftermath. But this time, we were the ones the world were watching. Las Vegas was now on display in a much different light from which it had normally been accustomed.
And as the world shook its collective head as it watched, our community had to deal with the reality that we too had been subject to random, senseless violence.
How would we react? Fifty-eight people were dead. More than 500 had been injured. The city itself was shocked. The recovery would be long.
But the world saw a side of Las Vegas it probably didn’t realize existed. We closed ranks. We looked out for each other. We took care of our own. We gave blood. We gave money. We said prayers — lots of them. Celebrities who we perhaps took for granted as they performed on The Strip, lent their name and their time to help.
And our new NHL team, the Vegas Golden Knights, which had yet to play their first game in their inaugural season, sprung into action. The players went into the community, meeting with the vic-tims and the first responders and those who supported them. Their actions helped our city heal and laid the foundation for a love affair that blossomed as the Knights made their improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final.
We have since learned of many acts of heroism, of strangers who risked their own lives to help others in need. Of how our doctors, nurses, EMTs and other trained medical staff were ready to do their jobs. They had trained for such a moment and they delivered.
And of course, the brave law enforcement officers who located the shooter quickly and who as-sisted those who had been shot. All performed the way you would hope they would in a crisis situation.
Life indeed would go on. For the families of the victims, it will always be toughest for them to heal. They will continue to need support from everyone in the community. But out of a horrific tragedy, some good did come of it. Friendships were forged between people who had been total strangers before the hail of bullets rained down on them. We are a closer-knit community. Those who survived have told their stories and there is a new-found vigilance throughout the city to make sure there is never a repeat episode.
We continue to heal from the events of October 1. And as we approach the one-year anniversary and the images of that night return to our consciousness, let us remember the words Knights de-fenseman Deryk Engelland spoke at the end of his speech to the sellout crowd at T-Mobile Arena the night of October 10 prior to the team’s home opener: “We are Vegas Strong.”
Let us all remain Vegas Strong.