US Sikhs to observe first anniversary from Friday
A year after six worshippers were shot dead by a white supremacist at the Oak Creek gurdwara in Wisconsin, the US Sikh community will observe the first anniversary of the tragedy with a series of events, including religious observances and candlelight vigil.
"In the spirit 'of Chardi Kala' (state of high spirits) instilled into us by our Gurus, the community is bouncing back and remembering our dear lost ones," the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin said on its website (sikhtempleofwisconsin.com) on Tuesday.
It announced a series of events beginning on Friday in honour of those who lost their lives when US army veteran Wade Michael Page went on the rampage on August 5 last year.
"We would be honoured if you would join us in remembering the victims and the loved ones lost on that horrific day. Your presence would show that this is not only a Sikh tragedy, but also an American tragedy. We must fight this violence not with more violence but by coming together with kindness and love," the gurdwara said in its public appeal.
Spread over four days, the series of events begins on Friday morning with Akhand Paath, which will last 48 hours and conclude on Sunday morning at 10:30 am.
On Friday afternoon, hundreds of people are expected to participate in the remembrance of the six victims at the US Federal Court House in Milwaukee.
On Saturday, the gurdwara has organised a memorial run and walk in which hundreds of people are expected to participate.
"The Chardi Kala 6K will be a community event honouring those we lost on August 5, 2012, as well as celebrating all that we have done to bring the community closer together," the gurdwara said.
"The memorial 6K will serve to honour the memory of the victims and their contributions to the community, while also celebrating the renewed sense of purpose of the Sikh community in the aftermath of the tragic events of August 5," it said.
"The 6K will be an opportunity for people of all faiths and backgrounds to come together to celebrate the universal values of service (seva), unity, and resilience (Chardi Kala).
It will give members of the community an opportunity to showcase their diverse cultures, eat, socialise and celebrate the progress made over the past year," the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin said.
On August 5, 2012, Page had shot dead Paramjit Kaur (41), gurdwara founder Satwant Singh Kaleka (65), assistant priest (granthi) Parkash Singh (39), Sita Singh (41), Ranjit Singh (49) and Suveg Singh (84), and injured several others, before committing suicide. Four of the victims were Indian nationals, while the rest were Americans.
On Sunday, there will be a 'kirtan' at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, followed by tributes to the departed souls.
The first anniversary events would conclude with a community candlelight vigil at the gurdwara on Sunday night.On all four days, langar would be served at the gurdwara.