MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

August 24, 2013

Community vigil begins healing process for Duncan

DUNCAN — More than 300 people participated in a vigil Friday to remember Christopher Lane and to begin the healing process for the Duncan community.

Former Lt. Gov. Jari Askins was among the speakers for the event, which was spearheaded by the First Baptist Church of Duncan. Other preachers from the Duncan community joined FBC pastor Bryan Pain.

“It’s encouraging,” Pain said prior to the event. “I had no idea how large the crowd would be. I didn’t know if it was going to be five people or 100. It shows this was something that was needed for the community.”

Just before 7 p.m., the crowd stood between 100 and 150 people. But as the hour moved passed 7, the crowed continued to grow, more than doubling in size by the time the vigil got underway.

The moment of reflection brought people from all walks of Duncan to the playground at Plato Elementary. Various entities, from the City of Duncan to Duncan Public Schools, were represented during the event. Rep. Dennis Johnson attended the event, along with Duncan City Manager Jim Frieda and Councilman Tommy Edwards.

Mayor Gene Brown was another speaker for the event.

“I’ll be honest,” Brown said. “I’m struggling with asking ‘Why?’ I don’t think there is an answer right now.”

He said the Duncan community is strong, and he expects people to recover from the sadness of the week. He said prayer and the good-nature of Duncan will help the community in the healing process.

“The crime committed Friday does not define Duncan,” Brown said. ‘Duncan is a can-do community. We can and will overcome this. Three people made some bad choices. Duncan must hold its head high.”

Askins, who calls Duncan “home,” said the faces of Duncan are not the three juveniles who gunned down an innocent man Aug. 16. Instead, the faces of Duncan are the people who work together to get past the sadness.

She said many people in the Duncan community provide for others, whether is a kind gesture or someone who comes to the aid of another in need. She said many people around the world now look to juveniles as the faces of the community, but she said those faces aren’t the real Duncan.

“I won’t let others tell me who the faces of Duncan are,” Askins said. “Faces of this community are those who have responded time and time again when there was a need. It’s important to define who we are and not let people do it for us. Let’s remember who we are as the community of Duncan.”

Derrick Miller writes for the Duncan Banner.

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