A prayer vigil held in response to the Oregon District shootings was held at the Levittt Pavilion Sunday, Aug. 4.

Gestures of kindness, compassion and love shine through in Dayton’s darkest hour

A crowd of strangers, drawn together by tragedy, attended a vigil at the Levitt Pavilion Sunday, just 12 hours after nine people were killed in the Oregon District. 

Amid the prayers and the songs at the hour-long gathering, gestures of kindness and compassion rippled through the crowd.

Long embraces, words of encouragement and small gestures touched the hearts of so many in their time of need. 

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This was the first of many vigils that brought the community together to begin the process of healing.

Bearing witness to these acts of love was another reminder of the true strength of our community and how fortunate I am to be part of it. 

Experience these moments that demonstrate why we are #DaytonStrong.

Graceful compassion 

Lindsey Posey and her husband Terry handed out white roses, tissues and mints to people gathered for a vigil at the Levitt Pavilion Sunday. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Photo: Lisa Powell

Lindsey and Terry Posey of Miami Twp. just wanted to do something, so on their way to the Levitt Pavilion they stocked up with supplies. The couple made their way through the crowd handing out long-stemmed white roses, packs of tissues, mints and water to anyone who needed them. “It’s all we knew we could do,” Lindsey Posey said. 

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Symbols of peace

Thomas Jones of Trotwood released nine white pigeons - to symbolize the nine people killed Sunday in Dayton's Oregon District - at a prayer vigil held Sunday afternoon at the Levitt Pavilion. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Photo: Lisa Powell

Thomas Jones of Trotwood and his son Joel, 14, carried a small pet carrier to the Levitt Pavilion. Jones placed it on the lawn, opened the door, and one by one nine white pigeons — “for the nine lives lost” — flew into the air. The flock made a sweeping circle above the city as the crowd watched their flashing white wings against the blue sky. 

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Messages of love

Prayer vigil attendees expressed their sadness and angerat Levitt Pavilion on Sunday afternoon after the Dayton shooting that claimed 10 lives, including the shooter, and injured more than two dozen others in the Oregon District at about 1 a.m. Sunday. Students and teachers from Little Hearts Learning Academy expressed their support for the Dayton Police. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

A Muslim family with Little Hearts Early Learning Academy in Riverside stood out among the hundreds gathered. They wore bright green shirts, and the young boys had matching caps. The hand-made signs they held broadcast messages of love to support for the community. “We love our city,” “Thank you Dayton Police & All Responders,” and “Please pray for our city.” “I’ve never imagined it would be so close to home,” Fatima Osama said. “We don’t want to get used to this. We don’t want this to be a normality.” 

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No one is alone

Brittany Mitchell of Dayton (left) is embraced by Celeste Pickett of Dayton while attending a prayer vigil at the Levitt Pavilion on Sunday afternoon. The women had not met before the event. “She was standing by herself crying,” Pickett said. “You never leave anyone alone.” LISA POWELL / STAFF
Photo: Lisa Powell 

Brittany Mitchell of Dayton lost someone close to her Sunday. When asked who, she couldn’t get the words out. As tears streamed down her face she stood in the strong embrace of Celeste Pickett of Dayton. The two women had never met before. “She was standing by herself crying,” Pickett said. “You never leave anyone alone.” 

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A stranger’s tribute 

Mackenzie Duff (left) and her mother, Tammy arrange a floral wreath for the prayer vigil held at the Levitt Pavilion Sunday. On their way to the event a car pulled up and a woman handed them the tribute. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Photo: Lisa Powell

Tammy and Chad Duff of Centerville and their daughter, MacKenzie, 13, were crossing Main and Fifth streets when a car pulled up at the intersection. The stranger inside told them she was unable to attend the gathering, but could they take something. Through the window she passed a floral wreath to them, the greenery decorated with carnations, roses and baby’s breath. The family placed the wreath at the foot of the pavilion stage.

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