The 128th annual Tournament of Roses Parade kicked off in California Monday morning – including a very special float honoring the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
The massive float featured a bed of roses with 49 white stars. A large, white dove sat above a pair of rainbows near a large oak tree.
Forty-nine people were killed and at least 53 more were injured at the gay-friendly hot spot in Orlando, Florida, when a gunman opened fire there on June 12, authorities have said.
Three survivors of the mass shooting rode on the float, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The float was commissioned by the Los Angeles AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
“It’s bitter sweet because I think we’d all rather be focusing on another topic, but this is our way of honoring the lives we lost along with sending a message of resilience,” Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told the Sentinel.
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The float accompanied about 40 more in the parade.
Both NBC anchors tweeted selfies just before the parade, with Roker uploading a video of performers practicing the opening.
The 128th Rose Parade airs live (at 11:00 a.m. ET) on NBC.