Sikh temple shooting victims remembered at event in Oak Creek
The community of Oak Creek came together Saturday to remember the lives lost on Aug. 5, 2012, in the Sikh temple shooting.
Six people were killed that day by Wade Michael Page. Oak Creek residents and relatives of the victims are continuing to heal five years later.
"It’s been a hard five years but just seeing the relentless optimism and the unwavering unity, that’s what it’s about," said Simran Kaleka, whose uncle, Satwant Kaleka was founder of the temple and died in the attack.
"Our tagline is 'turning tragedy into triumph' and turning those tears into giving homage to their legacy," she said.
More than a 1,000 people gathered at Oak Creek High School Saturday morning for a 6K run/walk. There was also a memorial set up for each victim. A large portrait of each of the victims was accompanied by a brief description of their lives and some roses.
“It’s a really hard day, and it’s a lot of emotions today," Kaleka said. "But the best way to honor them is to unite, bridge the gap and pay homage to us all being one in the end."
Organizers said each year, the event gets bigger and bigger. They also raise money to increase awareness about their religion and to preach equality and togetherness. The money is also used to put on the memorial for the following year. Kaleka said she misses her uncle every day.
"If we could have them back, that would be enough for us,” Kaleka said. "It’s really hard. You don’t appreciate the ones you love the most until they are gone, and that day was a realization to live life to the fullest."
Wade Michael Page was the perpetrator behind the attacks. Authorities said he was a known white supremacist. He died shortly after the shootout due to a self-inflicted gunshot.