I was a little ambivalent about going to the Farmer’s Market Saturday. I almost hoped they would cancel it out of respect for the families of the victims of the shootings. I expected it to be a hard day to get through, sad, shocked, angry and, yes, ashamed, as I am. But on Friday, I watched as the families offered forgiveness to the alleged shooter.

I know other communities that have suffered through such horrors have come to this point, but I have never seen it happen so early in the process. Through the first shocked tears of grief, still sobbing, they asked their God to forgive him. I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like it.

So I did go to the market, saw my friends, farmers and parks crews, we hugged and cried and laughed, and I told them how vital they are to me, to the very life and spirit of this city and how this deeply flawed boy does not represent anyone but his own twisted self.

They assured me that they know that, and reminded me that if we expect forgiveness ourselves we must also extend it to others. I know it’s a platitude, but I have seen it in action, and it has shaken my cynical self.

It’s these people who make Charleston deserve to be called the “Holy City.”

Debby McGregor

Acacia Street

Charleston