The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin at Oak Creek, near Milwaukee, resumed regular service on Sunday, a little more than a week after Wade Michael Page, an ex-military man with white-supremacist links, shot dead six worshippers at the gurdwara and prompted soul-searching on both ethnic stereotyping and gun control laws.
At the service Amardeep Kaleka, whose father and the gurdwara’s President, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was killed by Page as he sought to confront the shooter, said, “A coward came into destroy us ... and to start a race war, but he came to the wrong place, because it brought us closer together.”
According to reports, members of the Sikh community at the service came from as far away as California, including 50 from Cleveland, who reportedly “chartered a bus to make the eight-hour drive to support their community.” The weekend event came follows a week-long series of candle-light vigils, memorials and other services held at Oak Creek and across the nation in honour of the six victims of the attack.
Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General, was among the top Obama administration officials to visit the gurdwara and offer condolences. Addressing the community there on Friday Mr. Holder unequivocally termed the attack “an act of terrorism, an act of hatred, a hate crime.”
While Mr. Holder addressed the troubling fact that “too many Sikhs have been targeted, victimized simply because of how they looked and what they believed,” he did not bring up gun control laws, as many outside of government have done in the days since the shooting.
On Sunday members of the gurdwara however underscored their intention to remember the violence unleashed upon their community as they chose to leave untouched a single bullet-hole in a door jamb near the main prayer room.
Page, who shot up the gurdwara with a 9 mm pistol, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after exchanging fire with police officers arriving at the scene. Although Page critically injured Officer Brian Murphy, shooting him nine times, Mr. Murphy survived the attack.