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Watch: Anderson Cooper’s heartbreaking tribute to Orlando’s victims

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

In the wake of the mass shooting at Orlando’s gay nightclub Pulse, there’s been an effort to piece together all the moving parts, to try to make sense of this senseless tragedy. We’re slowly learning more about the shooter, the gun he used, Florida’s gun laws, and other nuggets of information.

What shouldn’t be forgotten through all of this, though, are the lives of the 49 people lost that day. And CNN anchor Anderson Cooper reminded us of that.

In an emotional opening to his show, Cooper read off the names of all the victims murdered in the shooting and, in instances where pictures were available, the segment showed their faces. He also spoke about what these people meant to their loved ones, including brief anecdotes about each person — what they did for a living, how they helped their families, who they were dating, and where they worked.

"They are more than a list of names," Cooper said. "They are people who loved and who were loved."

You can hear the heartbreak in his voice.

Cooper’s tribute really drives home the humanity of this story. These are men and women who had lives full of families, co-workers, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, jobs, challenges, and triumphs — all of that disappeared in an instant. Each person possessed potential for more moments with their families, more brightness in their work, more love with their partners. Now it’s all gone. As we move forward, we can’t forget these men and women, their lives, and all that was lost on Sunday.