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Waukesha remembers parade tragedy one year later

WAUKESHA (WKOW) -- Exactly one year after a man barreled through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, killing six people and injuring dozens more, the community came together once again to honor those lost. 

Waukesha mayor Shawn Reilly, Gov. Tony Evers and other community leaders gathered at Cutler Park with hundreds of community members donning blue lights and wrist bands — a symbol of strength following the tragedy last year. 

At exactly 4:39 p.m., the time that the tragedy happened last year, the entire crowd went silent. Afterward, community leaders spoke and crowds joined together in song.

"Waukesha has worked to turn an unimaginable tragedy into a powerful source of hope and love and strength," Evers said at the ceremony. "It's breathtaking to watch it all, and it reminds all of us what community really means."

One of the speakers at the event was Father Patrick Heppe — a Catholic Pastor in Waukesha who was injured in last year's parade. 

"It is incredible to see that sense of unity," Heppe said. "I mean, the blue lights, the wristbands, and all those things are an important part of who we are and what we're all about."

While emotions remain high, community members say they're stronger than ever, and look forward to this year's Christmas Parade on December 4. 

Among them was Anne Ambrosius and her family. She says she lost a close friend, Tammy Durand, at the parade last year, and there isn't a day that goes by that she doesn't think of her.

"We were just reminiscing about her and her energy level," Durand said. 

Ambrosius says Durand was one of the Dancing Grannies — a group that lost several members at the parade last year. She says Durand was a light for all those around her. 

"She just was such a bright light for everybody," Ambrosius said. "And I know that she's continuing to do that for all the people who are missing her."

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