Loved ones not forgotten a year after Oak Creek tragedy
Annie Scholz reports.Photo: Video by tmj4.com
OAK CREEK - "It's been a rollercoaster ride. Ups and downs, the holidays, Mother’s day."
Kamaljit Saini reflects on the year that's been since his mother, Paramjit Kaur, was killed at the Sikh Temple on August 5th, 2012. Kamaljit remembers it like it was yesterday.
"She woke us up that day at 10:00 a.m. I just threw the blanket over my head and said ‘No, I'm not in the mood to go today,'" he explains. "10:25 is when we got the call that there was a shooting at the Temple."
Six Sikh Temple members were murdered - all of them were honored at the federal courthouse in Milwaukee Friday. It's a place with special meaning for Amardeep Kaleka, whose father, Temple President Satwant Singh Kaleka, was among the dead.
"In this federal courthouse where my grandma got her citizenship and I got my citizenship, this was a perfect and fitting end to that part of it," says Kaleka.
This ceremony is just one of several over the next few days that will reflect on what happened that horrifying day and highlight the strength of a community that's stood together ever since.
"It's amazing to see the kind of support we've gotten not only from the Sikh community, not from Oak Creek, not from the state, but worldwide, says" Kamaljit Saini.
Kaleka tells Today’s TMJ4 what's happened in the year since has changed the conversation about faith, fear, and how different cultures come together in this country.
"First, this event traumatized us. But then as reflection grew on, we learned a lot about what America can be," explains Kaleka. "The hopes and the dreams of America, the right America."
Amid the horror, there was hope, even on that dark day - children running to warn people a bad man was coming, the temple president trying to fend off the gunman, women barricading the doors with their bodies to protect loved ones. Those are the acts of August 5th, 2012 that will be remebered this weekend, and will live on long after.
"For us, being invisible before August 5th and now being visible, it safeguards us and makes us part of the American fabric," says Kaleka.
Events this weekend include a 6K run Saturday in honor of the six victims killed - leading up to a candlelight vigil Monday, marking one year to the day since the massacre. Guests include the sister of a girl killed at Newtown, as well as survivors of the shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech.