Thousands pay respects, mourn Sikh temple shooting victims
WTMJ News Team
Shelley Walcott reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
OAK CREEK- As they have throughout this entire tragedy, the Sikh community handled Friday's funerals with grace, reports TODAY'S TMJ4's Shelley Walcott.
Thousands filed past the open caskets at the front of Oak Creek High School's gymnasium.
The son of one of the victim's hopes his father's life wasn't in vain. "Let us learn from the tragedy, let us learn that although we have our differences, our similarities are what binds us together," said Pardeep Singh Kaleka.
In keeping with Sikh tradition, mourners wore head scarves and some removed their shoes.
Governor Scott Walker praised the Sikh community for their grace. "This week, our friends and neighbors in the Sikh community, have shown us the best way to respond...is with love. Let me be one of the many here in Wisconsin and across America and around the world to reflect that love to each of you."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder also offered words of comfort.
"Last Sunday morning this community witnessed the worst of human kind but for ever minute, every hour, and every day since then, you have exemplified and inspired the very best in who we are."
The service was punctuated by Sikh prayers and hymns, but afterwords, Reverend Jesse Jackson said he worries about the hate that still exists.
"This is a horrible hate crime. We are no less safe. While we mourn, others plot and plan," said Jackson.
But a national Sikh leader preferred to focus on Friday's service, calling it a moving tribute to the temple victims.
"It makes it real. I think throughout the week we were trying to get to know who these people were, but today we really did," said Jasjit Singh, executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Cremation services for at least three of the deceased were held Friday. Those were for family members only.