Prayers for the Sikh community in Downtown Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

Even two thousand miles away in Fresno, hundreds gathered to pray for the Sikh community as a whole.

They died together, they were remembered together, mourners lined up to pay their respects to the six who died during last weekend's massacre at a Sikh temple.

"They died a painful death. And they died under wrong conditions. But they died in a place where god would take them."

As family and friends held and comforted each other, members were hard at work inside their beloved temple, trying to scrub away ugly and painful memories.

Police allowed the members back in their place of worship in suburban Milwaukee for the first time Thursday. While they painted over damage from the shooting, they will leave a lone bullet hole untouched. It will serve as a lasting reminder of what the community has lost.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearingen said, "In our own way we are gathered to say we are grieving the for those who have lost so much in just this last week."

Mayor Swearengin was among many to speak from her heart at Fresno City Hall Friday night. Hundreds from all faiths gathered in stifling heat to pray for those who lost loved ones last Sunday. But it was also an occasion to raise awareness and educate the public about the Sikh community, a people who love god, work hard and share with others.

"In the end, people know there was a tragic event and people were shot," Manvinder Singh said. "However, it's more important to understand who they were, which is, they were Americans, just like everybody else, like you and me."

As each of those gathered lit a candle, the hope was, enlightenment would spread, and those in the Sikh community would feel respected and embraced.

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