For the 2.2 million people who call Southern Nevada home, our city is much more than the glittering resorts that dominate the skyline. We know that beyond the neon glow of Las Vegas Boulevard lies a community where men and women work, raise families, and pursue their dreams. We know that we come from across the United States and every corner of the globe, and, in many ways, we represent the very best of America, thanks to the diversity that underpins our community. We know that our city is unique in the most obvious ways; yet, at its core, it is just like anywhere else.
We’ve always known about the things that make us a community, but perhaps we did not know how strong our community could be until a madman unleashed terror on an innocent crowd, stealing 58 lives and injuring hundreds more. The horrors of that day, October 1, 2017, will forever be remembered. So too will the shock and the pain. I will not forget the tragedy of that day, but I will also not forget that, when the worst of humanity was upon us, I saw the best of humanity on display.
I saw it in the heroic deeds carried out under fire by police officers, paramedics, and ordinary citizens. I saw it in the tireless life-saving work of doctors and nurses. I saw it in the patience of the hundreds who stood in line for hours to give blood. I saw it in the outpouring of donated goods and money from friends, co-workers, neighbors, and community leaders. I saw it in the vigils and memorials that honored the vibrant lives that were taken from us too soon. I continue to see it today, as we bond together and refuse to let the evil actions of a single man define who or what we are.
The rest of the world saw, too. From Los Angeles to London, they saw this community rise in the face of unspeakable tragedy. They saw a community bound by grief and buoyed by resolve, coming together to mourn, to heal, and to recover. They saw, maybe for the first time, the community that exists beyond the Las Vegas Strip and the emotional fabric that brought it closer together than ever before. We will not be defined by our tragedies, but by our resiliency and resourcefulness in overcoming them. Las Vegas will move forward as it always has. The world has now seen a different side of Las Vegas, one that includes a community of caring people that isn’t unlike their own. We also know that the strength and determination of our community has been building for the past century, only to be seen by the world on the first of October. As we return to the more normal ebbs and flows of daily life, I believe those connections will be stronger, forged by the pain that united us and the unwavering determination to push ahead as one. As we emerge from our darkest days stronger and more resilient, I am reminded of a quote from novelist Arthur Golden: “Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” We have seen the community we really are, and we can be proud.