A Year After Oak Creek
A Sikh American Tragedy
By Anju Kaur, SikhNN staff writer, Washington Bureau
Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013 | 03:13 pm
Also notable in this Sikh American tragedy is the overwhelming response from the American people and their praise of the Sikh community.
Tens of thousands of people lit candles at vigils that were held across the country during the week following the tragedy. Many gurdwaras again held vigils on the anniversary.
“It’s been looked at nationwide: How does a community come together so quickly after something so horrific?” the police chief said. “And you have to understand, you’re the reason that that happened. I’ve dealt with it a lot and it doesn’t happen that way. It’s how you responded.” (Jaikaaraa)
“The legacy of this is: We are a better country,” Mayor Steve Scaffidi said to the sangat. “We will not allow people to carry out acts of hatred like this to try to take us down.”
“You carried out your fight against violence and injustice without diverging from the tenants of the Sikh faith,” Taranjit Singh said to the sangat. “And in the true tradition of your adopted homeland, you uphold and protect the civil liberties of all citizens…
“nanak naam charhdee kalaa, tayray baanay sarbat daa bhallaa.”
(In the name of Nanak, may the Sikh panth be in the highest spirits, and under Your command and will shall prevail the well being of all of humanity)
Charanjit Singh particularly noted the courage of the gurdwara’s president, Satwant Singh Kaleka, who fought the gunman with a kitchen knife.
“(He) made the supreme sacrifice by laying down his life while fighting bravely, alone with the assassin, during the Oak Creek Gurdwara tragedy, thereby displaying the real value and courage in this indomitable spirit of fighting against the tyranny, oppression and injustice - the inherent characteristic of the Sikh.”