Appomattox Church Dedicates Bell to Speight Victims

Appomattox, VA - The eight people shot and killed by Christopher Speight in Appomattox County were given a special honor Thursday night at an area church.

The church dedicated a bell in their memory, and in honor of all lives lost to violence.

It was an emotional ceremony for the parishioners; they want to make sure the lives lost will never be forgotten.

"And may all those who died in 2010, may their names always be remembered" read aloud Father Jim Gallagher to the crowd.

"It will help us to remember those who were killed senselessly here in Appomattox, the eight people who were shot" said Gallagher.

One by one, their names were read, and a bell was rung in their honor.

Pastor, Father Jim Gallagher says it will forever ring at the beginning of each church service.

"It'll ring for all victims of violence, and we pray for an end to violence" he said.

And how appropriate for the parish; Our Lady of Peace.

"For me it was a very moving situation because we were here at church when the event was happening" said parishioner, Fran Lecco.

For Lecco, one ring of this bell brings back a million memories.

"That night, father gathered everyone together and we prayed for all of the victims and all of their families" she said.

She, like many church members, didn't know the victims personally, but feels a connection.

"The whole town, I don't think you couldn't be affected by it" she said.

So on one of the holiest days of the year, the parish gathered to remember one of the gravest days in recent memory.

"Holy Thursday, our God, Jesus Christ, gave his life; shed his blood, so that bloodshed should no longer be necessary" said Gallagher.

A few victims' family members participated in the Holy Thursday mass at the church following the memorial.

The bell was erected in the church's memorial garden; also, in honor of the same victims.