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Remembering Route 91: Does 'Vegas Strong' still hold true five years after shooting?

Las Vegas Shooting
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

In this photo taken Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, memorabilia from the Las Vegas shooting sits on a table at the home of survivor Chris Gilman in Bonney Lake, Wash. Gilman, with her wife Aliza Correa at her side, was shot at the Route 91 country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip a year earlier.

“Vegas Strong” 

It’s the saying you’ve seen on billboards, bumper stickers, T-shirts and more since 2017. There are multiple businesses bearing that name in the valley. A banner with 60 stars and the phrase “Vegas Strong” is displayed at Golden Knights games.  Some people even have Vegas Strong tattooed on them. 

We said it over and over again in the days and weeks following the shooting, in solidarity with those who were suffering, and as a unifier for a city in shock and in grief. 

What does this phrase mean five years later, to those who lived through the Route 91 Harvest Festival, those who lost a loved one, or those who continue to help others heal?

Is Las Vegas still as strong as it was on Oct. 2, 2017? 

We explore those questions in the last of our four-part series on 1 October five years later. These interviews are part of a joined effort with Desert Companion, and you can read more about some of these individuals in the upcoming edition of the magazine. 

State of Nevada producer Kristen Kidman reports.  

There are several events planned to commemorate the five-year anniversary of the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy.

In the morning, the county and Las Vegas police will host the 1 October Sunrise Remembrance. It will take place at 7:30 a.m. at the Clark County Ampitheater. After the ceremony, attendees can visit the rotunda for an exhibit exploring the community's grief and healing process.

The “ Remember Music Festival” is then starting at 1 p.m. at the Clark County Ampitheater. This is a fundraiser to support the permanent memorial. There is also a reading of the names ceremony at the  Healing Garden at 10:05 p.m., the time the shooting started on Oct. 1, 2017.  

For more events and details, visit  the Vegas Strong remembrance page.

For anyone interested, the  Stop the Bleed program offers free classes at multiple hospitals in Las Vegas.

If you were affected by the shooting and need support, the  Vegas Strong Resiliency Center is still offering mental health services and financial aid.

Shae Turner, Tas Upright, Robert and Brooke Patterson, Kimberly and Billy King, Craig Nyman, survivors, 1 October mass shooting; Ray Spencer, responding lieutenant, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; Tennielle Pereira, director, Vegas Strong Resiliency Center; Deborah Kuhls, trauma surgeon, University Medical Center

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Kristen Kidman is a former senior producer at KNPR’s State of Nevada and is proud to be from Las Vegas.