Orlando's Independence Day message was seemingly an attempt to commiserate with those unhappy and stressed over recent events in the news, but all it did was create a backlash that extended all the way to the Florida governor's office. The city newsletter that went out on Friday acknowledged that "a lot of people probably don't want to celebrate our nation right now, and we can't blame them," adding: "When there is so much division, hate, and unrest, why on earth would you want to have a party celebrating any of it?" The message did add that despite "the strife ... we already bought the fireworks," but criticism soon started pouring in online from those who called the tone "un-American," including a "yikes" from Gov. Ron DeSantis' spokeswoman, notes the Hill.
The controversy prompted a mea culpa the very next day. "The City of Orlando sincerely regrets the negative impact the words have had on some in our community," the city said in a statement. "We value the freedoms we have in this country and are thankful to the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for those." Not everyone disagreed with the city's initial take. "Y'all do not need to apologize," tweeted Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani. "Your first email captured the tone of how many Americans (and Orlandoans) are feeling right now." Eskamani added: "It's ok not to be ok."
Meanwhile, amid July Fourth celebrations that saw a mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill., that left six dead, as well as a shooting in Philly that left two police officers injured, Orlando had its own scare. City police say a dozen people were injured after someone apparently threw fireworks into a crowd watching a pyrotechnics display at Lake Eola, causing a stampede by attendees who thought a shooting was taking place, reports News 6. Cops later said there was no evidence of gunfire in the incident, which led to some people jumping into the lake in a panic, witnesses reported. (Read more Orlando stories.)