Gurdwara shooting: US Sikhs plan peaceful rites on first anniversary
A year after six Sikh worshippers were shot dead by a white supremacist in a shooting rampage inside a Wisconsin Gurdwara, the community will commemorate the first anniversary of the incident with a series of events including solemn religious observances and candlelight vigil.
"In the spirit 'of Chardi Kala' (a Punjabi term that refers to a state of constant optimism) instilled into us by our Gurus the community is bouncing back and remembering our dear lost ones," the Oak Creek Gurdwara said on its website as it announced a series of events beginning Friday.
Six Sikh worshippers were killed when a US Army veteran and white supremacist named Wade Michael Page went on a shooting rampage inside the Gurdwara on August 5 last year.
"We would be honored 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 August 2 morning with Akhand Paath, which will last 48-hours and conclude on Sunday morning. On Friday afternoon, hundreds, if not thousands, are expected to participate in remembrance of the six departed souls at US Federal Court House in Milwaukee.
On Saturday, the Gurdwara would organise a memorial run and walk, in which hundreds of people are expected to participate.
"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 (Chardhi Kala).
It will give members of the community an opportunity to showcase their diverse cultures, eat, socialize, and celebrate the progress made over the past year," the Gurdwara said.
On Sunday, the Gurdwara would organise Kirtan, hymns in the praise of God 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 the four days, langar (free community meal) would be served at the Gurdwara.