(CBS) — You hear it from time to time, and it’s hard to imagine: victims of horrific violence forgiving the suspect.
It’s even going on in the wake of the Charleston church shooting.
CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports a vigil was held for the Charleston victims in Glencoe Wednesday night.
People of many races and religions were at the vigil to remember the Charleston, South Carolina victims and to call for peace and healing.
75 people gathered at St.Paul’s AME Church and the message was good will. There was what was called a prayer for our enemies
Last week,during the court hearing for the alleged killer, he heard, perhaps to his surprise, words of forgiveness from relatives of his victims.
Today in Boston, a Downers Grove man who survived the Boston Marathon bombings surprised many with by saying he forgives Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“I have forgiven him. I have come to a place of peace and I genuinely hope that he does as well,” said Henry Borgard.
Wayne Messmer, known as a National Anthem singer in Chicago, and them in chicago,knows that peace as well. In 1994, he was shot in the throat by a teenager outside a club in Little Italy.
He survived and later forgave the shooter.
“I think forgiveness is something that leads to freedom and the taste of freedom is so appetizing that you’d never want to go back,” Messmer. “It is an amazingly steep hill to climb, but the vision from the top of the mountain is brilliant. You could walk around with a ball and chain on your foot all day and re-victimize yourself every day or reach down and unlock it.”
Messmer likes this quote from Gandhi: “If the world operated on an eye for an eye system of justice, before long the world would be blind.”