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“As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on August 5, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, August 10, 2012,” President Obama, USA

For once, my country has done something I can agree with. Thank you, Mr. President.

American flags at half-mast in respect and mourning for the dead.

Bhai Seeta Singh

Bhai Parkash Singh

Bhai Ranjit Singh

Satwant Singh Kaleka

Subegh Singh

Parmjit Kaur Toor

We can take great pride especially in the courage of Satwant Singh Kaleka ji, who fought the shooter with what I have read is “a simple butter knife,” but in reality was more likely his kirpan.  The time the murderer had to contend with this brother was time people could get out of danger.  We will never know how many lives he saved.

So…what now?  I think it is most important that we hold our heads up and become the embodiment of a dignified, muted form of chardi kala.  Something terrible has happened, yet we maintain our self-control and faith in the future and in the goodness of our fellow human beings.  Perhaps others will disagree with me, but I think that while we show grief, we need to act with great dignity and strength.  Rightly or wrongly, people are judged by how they react under pressure in times of crisis.  This is the first time many Americans have been aware of the Sikh community and what they see now will leave a lasting impression.  What that impression will be is up to us, collectively and as individuals.   Yes, my heart has been ripped from me and my soul cries, but I will leave the tears at home.  Unfortunately, American culture equates tears with weakness.  I will be solemn and respectful, but I will also be strong.

Nanak naam chardi kala

Tere bhane Sarbatt da bhala

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