Meridian Star

July 9, 2013

A Time of Healing

Reconciliation Week begins for Lockheed victims

By Terri Ferguson Smith /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Ten years after losing a loved one in the Lockheed-Martin shootings, members of the Rev. Charlie J. Miller's family gathered together again in remembrance of him and five others who were killed in a shooting spree that ended when the gunman took his own life. Eight other people were injured in the shooting.

    Others killed in the shooting are: DeLois Bailey, 53, Sam Cockrell, 46, of Meridian; Micky Fitzgerald, 45, of Little Rock; Lynette McCall, 47, of Cuba, Ala.; and Thomas Willis, 57, of Lisman, Ala.

    The injured were Brad Bynum, 29, Steve Cobb, 46, Al Collier, 49, Brenda Dubose, 55, Chuck McReynolds, 62, Henry Odom, 57, Charles Scott, 65 and Randy Wright, 55.

    As inspirational music played at Dumont Plaza on Monday, Dr. S.L. Thompson, pastor of 31st Street Baptist Church in Meridian, observed the activity at the Miller family lemonade stand.

    "We have people who lost loved ones here today. They are not mad, they are not upset," Thompson said. "We have to learn how to love individuals, how to forgive each other ... Regardless of what condition, it makes no difference what's happened in the past, we have to take whatever is thrown at us and make it better."

    As part of reconciliation efforts, the Miller family has adopted the mantra, "taking life's lemons and making lemonade."

    That's actually a Biblically based attitude, Thompson said, referring to the New Testament scripture found in Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

    Thompson acknowledged that it is not always easy to see the good in a tragedy, especially when the hurt is still there after so many years.

    "Even though the incident was tragic, there are some blessings. Some people may not want to realize it, but some blessings have come from that," Thompson said.

    In many ways the community has made progress in reconciliation; more is still needed, he said.

    Stacy Miller, the late Rev. Miller's daughter, said she still misses her father. He was a strong man, and had a strong presence in her life, she said.

    "Even though I'm grown and out of the house, there are certain things that I still depended on my father for," Miller said.

    During the anniversary of the tragedy, the family's main focus is to remember the good things about  Rev. Miller.

    "For our family, that's what's so important about Reconciliation Week — having this time to remember good things about Dad and to make sure his efforts in our lives and to this community are not forgotten," Miller said. "In that sense, he still lives, because we are keeping his spirit alive."