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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : local October 06, 2015

7/3/2013 7:00:00 AM
Thousands attend candlelight vigil to honor Granite Mountain Hotshots killed in Yarnell Hill fire
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
People in the huge crowd at Prescott High School’s Bill Shepard Field hold up candles and sing during the candlelight vigil to honor the 19 fallen firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
People in the huge crowd at Prescott High School’s Bill Shepard Field hold up candles and sing during the candlelight vigil to honor the 19 fallen firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
A crowd of more than 5,000 people gathered at Bill Shepard Field at Prescott High School Tuesday night.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
A crowd of more than 5,000 people gathered at Bill Shepard Field at Prescott High School Tuesday night.
+ view more photos
A group of 19 balloons drift off into the night near the end of the candlelight vigil to honor the 19 fallen firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots at Bill Shepard Field at Prescott High School Tuesday night.
Scott Orr
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - They began to arrive nearly three hours before the vigil's scheduled 7:30 p.m. start time, trickling in past the gauntlet of TV news trucks, cameras, and cables, to find a seat in the Prescott High School football stadium.

The event was called "Heroes: Community Response to the Yarnell Fire Tragedy," and hundreds gathered to honor 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, killed Sunday in the line of duty.

Soon enough, the trickle became a flood, with people filling the 2,500-seat home-side bleachers, then spilling onto the field, filling it, and continuing to take up the away-team bleachers.

Out on Ruth Street, dozens of volunteers held American flags on poles, lining the roadway for several blocks.

"The men that gave their lives for our area deserve the respect, and they're going to be shown," flag-bearer Michael Hill said. "This is exactly what our community is about. It's about coming together, respect, and showing our love and gratitude to those give to us."

Larry McCarty, a 16-year-old Boy Scout, played taps at the beginning of the ceremony. He offered to play because he wanted to honor one of the men who died in the fire.

"Clayton (Whitted) was a good friend of mine," he said. "He helped me out with a merit badge - well, two actually - and I just feel like I should pay my respects."

John Dickerson, who hosted the event, told the crowd that the firefighters were heroes.

"We will tell their children for years to come, 'Your daddy, he was a hero,'" Dickerson said, to thunderous applause.

"To friends and families of the 19 heroes, your loved ones laid down their lives in the ultimate expression of their love for you," he told the crowd. "And tonight, you are loved by your community."

He read each fallen hotshot's name, again to applause, and released nineteen purple balloons into the sky. "Purple is the color for fallen firefighters," he said, and like the balloons, "our brothers have been cut loose from the troubles of this world, to rise to Heaven. And Heaven's gain is truly our loss," he said.

Music was provided by three local pastors who decided to play the event as a band.

"We felt the need, that God called us out to sing some praise and worship," Eppie Vicente, vocalist, said, "and maybe for an hour put some joy and some hope in this tragedy of the fire."

"We all have a connection in some way to all those who lost a loved one," guitarist Chris Herrington said "So we're here to stand in solidarity with them."

The crowd prayed, sang, and cried as one throughout the ceremony.

Kyle Zierke said he had gone to high school with Robert Caldwell, one of the firefighters who died. Zierke was pleased with the turnout. "I think it shows the strength of the town," he said.

Related Stories:
• Friends, family share stories of Prescott's fallen hotshots
• UPDATE: Firefighters to bring lines on Yarnell Hill fire closer together today

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2013
Article comment by: Will that redeem us,

The two Testaments are interesting, each in its own way. The Old one gives us a picture of these people's Deity as he was before he got religion, the other one gives us a picture of him as he appeared afterward.
- Letters from the Earth, Mark Twain

Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2013
Article comment by: Response to a Couple

@ Ty Lamb

I have looked for transcripts and recordings. So far no luck. But I was there and I heard the repeated accusations at people for sinning as being the cause of this tragedy. The message was truly one level above that of the Westboro Baptist "Church". As far as the Bible defining sin, sure, it defines all sorts of things as being sins - having tattoos, cutting your hair in "rounded haircuts" - whatever that means, having injuries to your private regions, consulting a horoscope, working on the Sabbath, women speaking in churches, eating shrimp, and many other absurd things. But we are not here to debate religion.

You seem to not understand the concept that not all Christians view these things the same way and not all people are Christian. How would you feel if the people running the vigil spoke with such a focus on the Quran? I suspect your outrage would be much stronger than what you are reading in these comments!

@ A Plea To All

I absolutely agree with you that the focus should be on helping those who have been hurt and you list some excellent ideas. Some of those were even mentioned at the vigil but the focus was on how the tragedy was the fault of man for our sins. It was an offensive and inexcusable accusation. I was there. The others who have spoken of this clearly were. The message was completely inappropriate and inexcusable. I hope those who ran this vigil are ashamed of their behavior.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Ty Lamb

I am glad there are people here sharing/venting their opinions about the Candlelight prayer vigil. This is very enlightening reading but am moved to share a few things to those who were offended in some way.
From my perspective the message spoken at the service was extremely mild, sensitive and subtle. In fact, as I remember walking to my car I was a bit harsh with my opinion as I stated, "the message was too sugar coated." I must say that I am stunned that some found it offensive, but that tells me something- truth was spoken. It also tells me there are many that haven't read their Bibles recently. We tend to forget the message of the Bible is offensive when it is preached and taught giving full counsel to the message. So, do we blame the messenger for presenting the Bible message?
Something we have to remember is that truth offends us as prideful, rebellious people. All of us deal with pride from time to time. We are a prideful nation, to be truthful. The Bible tells us there is sin in every person, not just some. The Bible tells us we all are in this thing together. The Bible tells us a loving, forgiving God provided a remedy to this condition- the blood of Jesus.
The fact is, the Bible does define sin. That in itself makes it offensive to the sinner. Light exposes what lurks in the darkness. God opposes sin because it is parasitic and destroys what He created. Sometimes the span/scope of sin greater than our ability to define and we have to trust God knowing its outcome is eventually destructive. We are in a laboratory of life learning the consequences of sin. We are learning the difference between good from evil. We ate the fruit so we now are learning its painful lesson. If we receive the provision made through Jesus we will be saved from this world of sin and death much like climbing aboard a lifeboat while the Titanic sinks.
I hope this was helpful and you were not further offended. Blessings.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: The Weather

I attended the "candlelight vigil" exactly to join in the sense of community, the sense of shared loss and shared appreciation of the service of the people who fight fires. As was true for others who have written here, I found that sense of community eroded, even negated, by the very narrow brand of Christianity promoted in the presentation.

I was not aware that the ceremony was put on by one church. I heard about the event by word of mouth originally it was to be on the Courthouse Plaza, and I thought it would play out as a spontaneous community gathering.

I am not a Christian, but I did grow up attending a Christian church of a very different kind. Never, ever would the leader of that church speak from the podium as those speakers did on Tuesday night, smugly assuming that everyone in the audience believed as they do. The opening comment about everyone praying or observing a moment of silence in whatever way you do was the single, lonely instance of acknowledgment of different faiths and beliefs.

After that, and after some warm thoughts about God/Jesus comforting us by holding us in his/their hand, the emphasis was on Jesus bleeding and suffering on the cross so that we sinners could go to heaven. I sat there on the grass wondering whether sitting through the promotion of this one narrow faith would add to the misery of any of the bereaved who might not believe that way. It’s comforting to realize they must have understood in advance that this was a presentation for them and for the community by one church.

And it was very much a service, with hymns and a sermon. That sermon set forth a theology holding that this world is broken by the sin that Adam and Eve invited into the world. Also that the sinfulness of the human world leads to [and then the pastor rolled out a litany of ills, including divorce and the weather. I’m not kidding. The weather, it turns out, is caused by human sinfulness.]

I’m glad to learn I am not alone in finding the desire for community in a time of sorrow (my motivation for attending the ceremony) partly frustrated by the surprise of landing in a service of one church. I did feel excluded when the pastors repeatedly made statements in which “we all believe.” The explicit, verbatim message was that if you “believe on the name of Jesus Christ,” you will find comfort (and you will go to heaven). I am sincerely glad that this message brings comfort to so many in our community. I do not at all regret that I was there with all those people. And silly me, for not looking into who was running the show. Peace be unto us all… I just needed to put my experience of Tuesday night out there.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: @ The Rev

I will be there - although I hear we are also having some 'big name' drop in, so the parking might be limited or nonexistent on Tuesday. A shuttle service and extensive security checkpoint will probably be in place too.....

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: A Plea To All

The more I read the more it becomes so clear that 90% of the folks on here that are upset weren't there. They have seen an oppourtunity to jump no the bandwagon of those individuals who were there for a short period of time and those who weren't there at all but that have 'heard' what the 'horrible, offensive, homosexual bashing, fire and brimstone' preaching was about. Not once was the death of these heros blamed on sin or homosexuality. You folks are taking up a banner and running the wrong way with this. I'm a Christian, I would not STAND for one moment alongside a church - whoever they might be if they handled things this way or said things like that in any context. I keep reading what everyone is saying they 'heard' coming out of the vigil speakers and most of these folks seem to be combining this church encounter with all of the other bad ones they have had in their life time and heard about on tv. Your claims of the 'hate speech' can be backed up if you want to run with this folks... Media was there and recorded the WHOLE thing, thousands of people were there with their phones recording the WHOLE thing. If this really happened this way, they you folks need to get those recordings and get them over to the ACLU and get this addressed. But, you are going to be disappointed when you see the recordings because you will realize that you might have left before understanding the context of the 'sin' you heard being talked about. In the mean time, is there any chance that just for a few days we can keep the focus on where it is really needed? Can all this passion and fight be applied to the emergency at hand? Tap into what's making you up set right now and go wash the heck out of cars at a charity car wash or get down there and start shoveling muck in Yarnell for the folks who lost everything, go weed the yard of a new widow and make sure the bolts are tight on the play set in the back yard of the new orphans. Please don't just stand by and get angry about what you are seeing and hearing --- get out there and do something useful. Do something meaningful. I don't really care about what your beliefs are and how they may differ from mine - let's JOIN together. If the area churches did this wrong, here is our chance to show them a community that can get it right! If you feel that you were mislead, misrepresented or just flat out offended by what happened at the vigil - let's get together under the banner of HUMAN and under the banner of CIVILITY and under the banner of DOING THE RIGHT THING and help get this community back on their feet. There are so many great ways to get involved with help, please let's direct this passion that way rather than getting lost on this issue and sitting by while our neighbors are suffering greatly.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: j davies

How cool,
I agree with you wholeheartedly when you see the HA brotherhood not only stand up for their community, they were standing tall, Thank you to the Hell's Angels for being a part of our community and rising to the occasion for Honor, Pride, and Respect for the community and our fallen brothers,
and for keeping the protesters completely isolated with no venue. HA OMC Rocks

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Another Bottom Line

The fault lay with the pastor. If he was that insensitive to the moment and the audience, then he knew better. He's professional in the busines$.

Once there was a light, a warm and healing light, and the people said let us protect the light. And they built a beautiful tabernacle for it. Then they said, "let's protect this beautiful tabernacle that contains the light". And they built a temple for it. It also protected the people from the weather when they looked at the beautiful tabernacle they built to protect the light.

"Who is to take care of our beautiful Temple?", and protectors were chosen to take care of the temple, tabernacle and the light within. Then they said, "what will protect the protectors within the temple". And a wall was built around it.

The protectors thought the light to precious to view, were in fear of its warmth, or just the wear and tear on the temple was too much, no one remembers, but the protectors could only describe the tabernacle. On special days the Protectors would carry the tabernacle in a big procession outside the wall. Eventually, no one was left who could remember the light, let alone the tabernacle. And in time, only the temple behind the wall, then only the wall.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Lets talk about what respecting the families means...

Out of respect for the families, I would think that the man (pastor) who gave the sermon would have met ahead of time with each of the 19 families to ask what their faith and beliefs are. THAT would have been respectful. I fully expected at this vigil that God would be spoken of and that there would be prayer. No problem. I would have thought that there would have been enough forethought and respect to each individual family that the speech/sermon part of the vigil could have been handled in a more respectful manner, more broadly oriented and non-denominational rather than a specific sort of "fire and brimstone" preaching about sin. And, yes, when he listed off some sins he did include divorce. The poster on here who wrote that they didn't hear that-please revisit the sermon, I'm sure it is posted on line to view by now. I did not leave, that wouldve been rude to the families. And most of the vigil was lovely. However, the pastor did go off course and make some innapropriate statements that, come on, were not necessary.

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: The Rev

Who will come stand guard on Sunday and Tuesday?

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: @ The Bottom Line

Well stated. And sadly much of his message was only a step or two higher than that of what the Westboro Baptist "Church" pushes. Both claim disasters such as these happen because of the sin of man. How dare they make that accusation!

Those firefighters did not die because they sinned or you sinned or I sinned. Their friends and families are not suffering unimaginable losses because someone got a divorce or did whatever other act these preachers think is a "sin". Those people did not lose their home because of sinners.

These people are suffering and need the help of the community - and the community as a whole is grieving and should be there to support each other. Not point fingers at all of us for "sinning."

Let us come together as a community and support each other. Let us work to help those who have lost loved ones and property. Let us find ways to comfort and to restore.

But let us do this without blaming "sinners" and without pushing a message so close to what the Westboro Baptist "Church" pushes. There simply is no excuse for it.

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: The Bottom Line

It's simple folks. The church/pastor had a captive audience of thousands and they were in a vulnerable state. He took advantage of the situation to preach his own message. Period.

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: Un Impressed


Once again jihadist christian leaders usurp the grief of a community to spew their hidden message of hate. I saw who was sponsoring this gathering, guessed what agenda was to be followed and, with great regret, passed. Regret because I wanted to support our firefighters and their survivors, but knew that sin would be center stage that night and I wanted to show no support for that hateful message. I have seen the Magic Jesus Show, I am unimpressed. From what I have studied, He would have be unimpressed too. There seems to be very little of the message of Jesus in Christian teaching today, and more sharia law.
Look, pastors, we don't all agree with you and, we don't trust you. That is the principle this country was founded on and why "we" put it in the very first amendment in our bill of rights. This is not a Christian country although the majority of us are Christian.
When you're given a microphone in a setting where you represent our community, to the rest of the world, use it responsibly. You failed, predictably.
I know I am in the minority, but there are more and more of us everyday...thank God.

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: From FEMA

Statements by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and US Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell on the Wildfire in Arizona
Main Content
Release date:
July 1, 2013
Release Number:

Statement by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate:

“Yesterday the emergency management community lost 19 of our family. When wildfires threaten lives and communities, firefighters bravely face some of the most unpredictable and dangerous conditions that mother nature has to offer. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona. FEMA stands behind the first responders who continue to fight the blazes across the West.”

Statement by U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell:

“It is with great sorrow that I received news of the loss of 19 firefighters responding to the Yarnell Hill Fire in Yavapai County, Arizona. This is a tragic loss for the citizens of Arizona and the nation as a whole. These brave firefighters were responding to a wildfire with the potential to destroy homes and structures in a wildfire season among the worst in many years.

"The U.S. Fire Administration remains in close coordination with the fire-fighting communities in Arizona, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Interior and the National Interagency Fire Center. FEMA recently awarded a fire management assistance grant for the Yarnell Hill Fire, making financial support available for ongoing efforts to fight and mitigate the volatile wildfire conditions."

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: Thank Goodness

Thank goodness that GRACE applies whether you believe in it or not.... sort of like gravity does.

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: How Cool

How cool is it when the Hell's Angles and other Motorcycle clubs come out to run 'security' at a Church function!! That's Awesome. Thanks to all of those who showed up, stood through the entire vigil, stood guard around the exits/entrances, ran the bikes to drown out when the protestors pulled out their loud speaker ... gentlemen of the various clubs that came - THANK YOU. I may differ in lifestyle from you all, I may not always agree or understand how you live your life, but when it counts, when it really matters, when freedom and respect and principal is on the line - I LOVE seeing that line of leather and I will proudly stand beside you!! Ride safe.

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: @ Those Defending This Offensive Vigil

One asks: What does "a prayer vigil honoring our firefighters hosted by the Heights Church" mean to you?

I am looking at the Program right now: "Heroes: Community Response To The Yarnell Fire Tragedy." Community response for all those affected. Not a prayer service.

Even if it was, not all people pray the same way. Our community has Jews and Hindus and Muslims and people of various Native American beliefs. Even with Christian views there is no need to blame the tragedy on people not even involved!

Blaming tragedies on the sinning of people is the exact message of the Westboro Baptist "Church." Would you have wanted them to have run this ceremony and blame the "sinning" of the gay community for this horrific event? If you would not welcome the Westboro Baptist "Church," why do you accept comments hardly a step above this?

They blamed us all for being "sinners" and called out specific "sins" of the community, even on those who have had a divorce. I have not, nor am I gay. I simply find the message of those who blame people for such completely uncontrolled tragedies to be reprehensible.

As a community we worked to keep the Westboro Baptist "Church" out of the event. Excellent. But you welcome much of their message onto the center stage. Defend this if you wish, but I will continue to find the Westboro Baptist "Church" and others who spread the message that "sinners" caused this tragedy to happen to be completely offensive and inappropriate for an open *community* response. I do not accept hate speech from any group, no matter how "religious" and loving they claim to be.

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: Did I Expect Any Different?

No. I saw the info posted just like everyone else did - that this event was being organized by 4 area churches and many many volunteers. So, uhm, no I didn't expect any different. I'm having a hard time figuring out why anyone else did?

Also, I find it hilarious how many folks are posting and ranting about what was being said at the vigil that were not even in attendance or that didn't stay long enough to hear the 'offensive sermon' put into context. That's not a vigil fail, that's a YOU fail. I was there for the entire thing, and 90% of what I'm hearing folks complain about that they heard... strange, no one I have talked to that was there heard what you folks are talking about -- and they aren't predisposed to bias - I'm talking about nonchristians, homosexuals, atheists, etc. Not sure where you were standing? Were you down there at the corner of Ruth St where the 'church' from Kansas was protesting? (won't even use their name since use of the name gives them internet publicity). I'm really sorry to hear that you folks had a bad time at the vigil. There were lots of folks up there in front of the stage... those folks who are the widows, orphans, parents and unborn children of those that died to protect our homes, businesses, ranches etc. They had a pretty rough time at the vigil too. They are still having a really rough time.

So in summary about the vigil issues: -movie quote: "You cheated!" "Pirate!" .... vigil quote: "You're preaching!" "Church!"

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: Justin Case

To those of you that were offended by what you heard, I'm so sorry. I'm so terribly sorry that you were unable to step out of your own self and your own issues for a few minutes one night to stand in solidarity with the rest of us!! The vigil was AMAZING - those of you who LEFT, YOU are the ones who missed out, the vigil did not miss you. You missed standing together as a community, Christian, Pagan, Wiccan, Atheist all walks of life and belief all together standing along side the Police Officers, Deputies, EMS, Firefighters, Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, Motorcycle Clubs, Military personnel, students, teachers, parents, Veterans all standing together to support those HEROS and those families. YOU missed out on looking into the eyes of those Hero's families as we formed a shield around them as they left the field - YOU missed out on applauding and showing that YOU support them. YOU missed out on saluting the 20th member. Ladies and gentleman out there who know this was not about you and that were able to stand there with the rest of us whether you believed what was being said or not THANK YOU!! YOU are the reason this community will survive this! YOU are the reason that these folks will not be left in the fringes once the focus of this tragedy has passed. YOU are the reason that there IS HOPE for our future generations. THANK YOU for those of you who attended!! It's not about us right now... maybe it wasn't ever!

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: Do you expect any different?

In a place that is a bit more vulnerable to the siren song of intolerance than the norm, it was a great thing to see the response to Westboro.

It is unfortunate that the message of the Memorial Service (which should be only all about bringing comfort to the victims) was diluted by the usual linkage to social issues. Even on 9/11, an event driven by fundamentalism run amok, Falwell and Robertson chose to tie such a horror to God's judgement over the social agenda.

I remember all the posts here snarking at the way people acted at the Tucson memorial. Their point was that the proceedings like this should not be politicized. They were right then, and right now.

But this also was not the "official" gathering for the community which is scheduled next Tuesday. When one attends an event with the roster of congregations Tuesday had as sponsors, it should be done so with the expectation that certain issues will be aired.

Though one might cringe on occasion when we attend a memorial that links a tragedy to reproductive choice or gay rights, it is far more important to be there for our friends who are suffering than any other consideration. It was nice to see that so many have chosen to do just that this week.

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Whitehead

And to Jennifer It is obvious that you are struggling with your own beliefs. I feel for you in this regard. However, you left for the wrong reasons. Personally I feel that you should not have felt compelled to leave at all, but since you did, let's make one thing clear. You left because your beliefs were in conflict with those of society. Not the other way around. Unfortunately, you missed a perfect opportunity to take comfort from those around you, simply because you could not get past your own shortcomings. Remember, this country was founded on "Freedom OF Religion", not freedom FROM religion.

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Whitehead

To: Offended By The Vigil To even say that you were "offended" by the outpouring of support and honor that was shown, shows me that you not only missed the point, but have absolutely no concept of what makes society work, and come together in times of grief. I am stunned that you had the nerve to condemn the Westboro folks, who in their own twisted way, feel our social/religious beliefs are misguided, especially when you need to reassess your own participation ...there are no proper words to describe ANYONE who would complain about this event, it's intentions, or who hosted it. It was for the ENTIRE COMMUNITY, not just a few. Please...get over yourself.

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: Non-Church Goer

As a Non Church going person I must say that I am completely disappointed that some folks would find anything to complain about on such an important event. THIS WASN'T ABOUT YOU! Hard to believe I know. For once get over yourself and let sleeping dogs lie.
The Churches organized a fantastic event that I was proud to be at. The families of the firemen had chosen to be there and they are the only ones that truely mattered.
PLEASE don't bother to comtinue on with this kind of disrespectful commenting as this is supposed to be about the firefighters and their families..

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: For @ offended by the vigil

I never post on this but I am so appalled by your comments. What does "a prayer vigil honoring our firefighters hosted by the Heights Church" mean to you?

My husband looked at me and said "are they trying to save us" Great choice of words since these men died trying to save you! You left halfway through? How disrespectful to these families! You should be ashamed. I hope you didn't have kids with you to show your stupidity to! This is what is wrong with our world! since you left, you missed the fire chiefs speaking, the lone survivor being honored, the bikers protecting our community from Westboro. You missed the community coming together for these families that lost everything! The pastor said very clearly that you didn't have to pray but you couldn't just sit there and be silent and mourn! Plus, I didn't hear a word about divorce being a sin! Don't bother going to any of the memorials because be assured there will be prayer. If you can't handle it, stay home!!!

Posted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Article comment by: beyond amazed @ disrespect

First off 19 men have passed away and are in heaven now, the exact reason why a local church decided to put on a beautiful service. During prayers they were respectful and stated several times if you do not wish to participate in prayer to just respect others with silence, not once did it become a church service. The community came together to respect the fallen families. If someone felt uncomfortable to the point of making rude comments they probably should have chosen another way to show their respects at another memorial. All i can say is that it was a wonderful gathering of many people and the heights took charge to rally everything and make sure the families were respected and taken care of before and after the ceremony was complete, to say it was nothing more than a way to be saved or told what you did as a sin is ridiculous and rude!

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