Wisconsin Gurdwara shooting memorial begins Friday

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Washington, Jul 31: A year after six worshippers were shot down by a white supremacist in a rampage at the Oak Creek Gurdwara in Wisconsin, the Sikh community there will observe the first anniversary of the tragic event in spirits of Chardi Kala.

"In the spirit 'of Chardi Kla' (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 on Tuesday.

It announced a series of events - prayers - beginning Friday in honour of those who lost their lives when a white supremacist went on a shooting rampage a year ago 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 August 2 morning with Akhand Paath, which will last 48-hours and conclude on Sunday morning at 10:30 am. On Friday afternoon, hundreds are expected to participate in remembrance of the six vicitms at US Federal Court House in Milwaukee. Saturday, the Gurdwara has organized a memorial run and walk, in which hundreds of people are expected to participate.

"The Chardhi Kala 6K will be a community event honoring 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 honor 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 Sikh temple said.

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On August 5 last year, a US Army veteran and white supremacist named Wade Michael Page went on a shooting spree in the Gurudwara and shot dead a woman Paramjit Kaur (41) and five men Satwant Singh Kaleka (65) the founder of the temple; Prakash Singh (39) an assistant priest, 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, the Gurdwara will organised Kirtans, 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 Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Sunday night. On all the four days, langar (free community meal) would be served at the Gurdwara.


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