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franklin county times

A day to remember

By Staff
TENDER EMBRACE Cathy Mumford, left, aunt of the late Lynette McCall, and Tammy Fitzgerald, widow of Mickey Fitzgerald, hug at the end of a memorial service at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church on Thursday. Tammy Fitzgerald's brother, Vince Wright, her son, Cory Fitzgerald and her nephew, Ross Wright, stand alongside her. Fitzgerald and McCall were two of six victims killed during a shooting spree at Lockheed Martin on July 8, 2003. PHOTO BY PAULA MERRITT / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Erin Hilsabeck / staff writer
July 9, 2004
The Rev. Charles Johnson, pastor of Fitkin's Memorial Church of the Nazarene, began singing the first verse of "How Great Thou Art" shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday.
Slowly, those gathered outside Mission Meridian joined together in song.
By the chorus, everyone who came to honor The Rev. Charles J. Miller was singing.
Nearly 100 people met at the northeast corner of Ninth Street and Constitution Avenue to dedicate a new carousel horse part of the Around Town Carousels Abound public art project in honor of Miller.
The dedication was the first of three planned events on a day meant to remember Miller, DeLois Bailey, Sam Cockrell, Mickey Fitzgerald, Lynette McCall and Thomas Willis.
One year ago Thursday, Doug Williams shot and killed the six Lockheed Martin employees and injured eight others before taking his own life.
Several of Meridian's community and religious leaders spoke about their experiences with Miller, who had been a pastor at First Tabernacle Church of God in Daleville.
Daniels encouraged listeners to follow Miller's example and turn tragedy into triumph.
Jinnell Fox Miller, Miller's wife, recalled how her life has changed since her husband's death.
Miller urged the community to be inspired by the new carousel horse, which is decorated with bright landscape scenes and a Biblical passage.
Christy Thomas and Edward Yeatman, who painted the carousel horse, also spoke.
Families pay their respects
A luncheon for the victims' family and friends on the second floor of Union Station followed the carousel horse dedication.
The occasion provided a place for the families to meet one another, if they have not already, said Charlotte Scott, director of Mission Meridian sponsor of the memorial events.
A reception at Lockheed Martin for its employees was also held Thursday. A 25-foot Magnolia tree was planted in front of the building in remembrance of those who died, said Joe Stout, spokesman for Lockheed Martin.
A service at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1116 23rd Ave., began at noon.
The half-filled sanctuary held mostly family members of the victims, though several Meridian leaders attended the service.
Lauderdale County Supervisor Craig Hitt, Meridian City Councilman Jesse Palmer and Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith all spoke in memory of the victims.
Several musical solos from the St. John's Baptist Church choir often brought listeners to their feet, and testimonials from a family or friend of each victim closed the service.
Amy Bishop and Amy Mosley, crisis workers with Weems Community Mental Health Center, attended the service at St. Paul's.
Although the day was joyful for some and painful for others, many said they were glad to have the opportunity to remember every victim.

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