Charleston, SC (WLTX) - Relatives and friends of the Emanuel Nine victims and survivors were on hand for a walk in Charleston Saturday to mark the two-year anniversary of the fatal church shooting.
The event is being described as a walk for "peace and equality," and featured addresses from motivational speakers, American Civil Liberties Union members, survivors of the attack, and family members of the victims.
Among those on hand at the march is Daniel Simmons Jr., who lost his father, Reverend Daniel Simmons Sr., on this day two years ago in the attack. "Right now I am just overwhelmed with the extended grace and love," he says, "even through this tragedy...we continue to respond with love."
The shooting is one of the worst tragedies the Palmetto State has seen in recent history, but Simmons Jr. says he was astounded by how the Charleston community reacted to the news. "One of the great things that I admire the most is how the city of Charleston responded: with acts of kindness for us," he says.
The city was showered with praise across the nation, notably how many residents said they had forgiven the shooter, Dylann Roof. Simmons Jr. says it was not an easy road to recovery, but he is comforted by the decision. "I cried for days, but I had a peace that surpasses all understanding."
The walk drew to a close around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, but the memorial events will continue through the upcoming week.
Several events such as worship ceremonies and moments of silence will be held not only on Saturday, but throughout the week.