South Carolina's state motto is Dum Spiro Spero — While I breathe, I hope.

I hope and pray for the new life of the victims — one that is eternal and knows not the hatred they experienced in the last minutes of their lives, but love.

I hope and pray for the healing of the survivors and for the families of the victims. May they be healed by their families and their faith and may they know that, should they fall or should they be in need, they will find a community, a city, a state and a country ready to pick them up.

I hope and pray for South Carolina and all of her citizens — may this terrible act of hatred serve as a reminder of the wonderful things that bind us together as South Carolinians, rather than those that divide us.

This is not a land of hate. Do not confuse or associate the heinous and despicable acts of one with the love and generosity of a great many.

Though they no longer live and breathe amongst us, their lives and their stories are now indelibly woven into the fabric of our history.

We are South Carolina —while we breathe, we hope.

Ryan D. Cuff, M.D.

Chilhowee Drive

Johns Island