Message of hope out of tragedy

from page 6 of The Examiner, May 10, 1996

[no by-line]

  Melbourne -- "Remember that the power of love and creation will always triumph over the power of destruction and revenge."
  With those those heartfelt words, Walter Mikac held out a message of hope in the terrible aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre.
  Mr Mikac, whose wife Nanette, 36, and daughters Alannah, 6, and Madeline, 3, were slaughtered along with 32 others at Port Arthur last month, shared his anguish and revealed a rare courage at their funeral here yesterday.
  The service also heard tearful pleas for Australia to heed all of the lessons of the massacre, including the introduction of stricter gun controls.
  More than 1000 people gathered for the service at Melbourne's Austin Hospital, where Mr and Mrs Mikac once worked and where they met.
  Mr Mikac spoke in a calm and steady voice, which wavered only when he spoke of wondering if his family had known the depth of his love for them.
  As he stood beside the coffins of his wife and young daughters, Mr Mikac shared his memories of his family.
  "As I think of my two beautiful daughters Alannah and Madeline, the memories flood in," he said.
  "The air I breathe, the sky I see, the soft skin to touch, the bodies to feel at night, the steps I take, the ground I feel.
  "These are the thoughts that come back, and they cannot be erased -- the sounds and noises of every living moment."
  The service also heard a similarly heart-felt call for politicians to impose stringent gun laws.

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