Hundreds Pay Respects, Led by Family Members and Dignitaries
Family members of the six people slain at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, shared their grief and consolation Friday and offered reflections on their loved ones to a crowd of hundreds gathered in the Oak Creek High School gymnasium. Dignitaries, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder expressed condolences to the community during the joint funeral for the six.
“Although we have been brought together by an unspeakable and devastating tragedy, we are bound together by much more. We are united today not only by a shared sense of loss, but also by a common belief in the healing power of faith,” Holder said.
Governor Scott Walker also shared sympathy and appreciation.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that. These words were written more than four decades ago by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, yet they are just as profoundly appropriate this week. As many of you did, I heard love driving out hate, in the reaction of the members of the Oak Creek Sikh Temple. They revealed their peaceful faith to the world,” Walker said.
Mourners carried in six caskets at the start of the gathering. During the first two hours, hundreds of people formed a line to wind past the caskets and speak with family and friends. A large video screen displayed photos of the six, while a Sikh priest spoke in native Indian Punjabi. Visitors covered their heads, in a traditional Sikh sign of respect for those who have died.
So many people traveled to the funeral, that visitation resumed, after the service.
Members of the Sikh community are returning to their temple, many for the first time since Sunday's shootings. Volunteers gathered earlier to paint walls and replace carpeting, but they will not repair one bullet hole, so it remains a symbol of the lives lost.