Tears flow as thousands crowd Wisconsin high-school gym to mourn Sikhs slain by neo-Nazi

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August 11, 2012

More than 3,000 gathered to mourn the 6 dead victims of the neo-Nazi, racist killer Wade Michael Page.

August 11, 2012

More than 3,000 gathered to mourn the 6 dead victims of the neo-Nazi, racist killer Wade Michael Page.

People mourn at a funeral service for the victims of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting at Oak Creek High School. Wade Michael Page, 40, killed the six victims on the morning of Sunday, August 5, 2012.

There were six open caskets and thousands of crying eyes Friday as a multitude piled into a Wisconsin gym and wept for the victims of a senseless slaughter.

The victims of a neo-Nazi’s racist madness were gentle Sikhs and the hymns were sung in Punjabi.

But the grief spilling over the Oak Creek High School gym touched everyone in the room.

“Today we mourn with you. We pray with you. We support you,” Gov. Scott Walker told the throngs.

Flowers adorned the bodies of the victims in their coffins. Images of the dead before they were cut down by a bigot with a 9-mm. handgun flashed on a huge video screen.

“Dear God, you have given me this body and this soul,” the singers chanted. “This body is doing whatever you want me to do. You take this soul. This is your soul.”

A moment of silence is observed following the ceremony at the wake and visitation service for victims of last Sunday's attack at a Sikh temple, in Oak Creek, Wisc., August 10, 2012. Hundreds of mourners curled through the gym at Oak Creek High School on Friday for a public visitation to honor the six Sikh worshippers killed by a white supremacist.

The mournful tones were pierced periodically by cries of pain — and the wails of widows.

“They were all the most selfless people,” said Amardeep Kaleka, whose dad, Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, died trying to stop gunman Wade Michael Page.

Caskets are brought in for a memorial service at Oak Creek High School for the victims of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting.

Kaleka said his father left him a note that he intends to frame.

“The note said don't become prejudice,” he said. “He wrote it in his English Language. He wrote it for me.”

Kaleka said he consoles himself with the thought that “even in death my father promoted more in Sikh faith than he ever could have when he was a alive."

“We must turn hate and sin into love,” he said.

The other slain Sikhs were Ranjit Singh, 49, Sita Singh, 41, Suveg Singh Khattra, 84, Prakash Singh, 39, and Paramjit Kaur, 41.

People attend a memorial service for the victims of the Sikh Temple shooting at Oak Creek High School in Wisconsin.

While fellow Sikhs comprised most of the crowd and some had flown in from as far away as India, hundreds of non-Sikhs who shared their anguish stood patiently in the drizzle to get inside the gym and pay their respects.

Out of respect for Sikh tradition, all the women covered their heads with scarves.

“It’s important to mourn our loss and to remember these lives that were so senselessly lost,” said Sara O'Connor, 42, who brought her two children from Chicago.

"I'm here to send a message that this act of hatred won't divide us. It has united us as one.”

Several dozen police officers, including some who responded on Sunday to the massacre at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, attended the moving ceremony.

Unable to attend was Brooklyn-born Lt. Brian Murphy of the Oak Creek Police Department, who remains hospitalized after he was shot nine times by Page — and who has defied doctors’ expectations by making a remarkable recovery.

Also attending were U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, whose office is investigating the deadly shootings, and Rep. Paul Ryan, a Republican reportedly on Mitt Romney’s short list of potential running mates.

Holder called the attack “an act of terrorism, an act of hatred, a crime that is anathema to the founding principles of our nation and to who we are as a people."

The FBI still doesn’t know why Page, who killed himself after he was shot by a police officer’s bullet, targeted the Sikhs. But he reportedly became a white supremacist while serving in the Army during the 1990s in a unit that prepared propaganda for foreign consumption.

When Page was in the Psych Ops unit, trainees did not get psychological evaluations, the Army said. They do now.


Courtesy: nydaily