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Inside First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs Sanctuary One Week Later

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Sunday November 12th marks one week since 26 people lost their lives here at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. The day also marking another first. The first day this very building opened its doors for the public to come inside.

The church was completely reconstituted after law enforcement completed their investigation. All chairs and pews were removed from the building, the walls and floors were repainted, and windows and ceiling tiles replaced. The chairs inside the building are standing in place of where the victims were found. Each chair has a name of the fallen on them, including a chair for crystal Holcomb’s unborn child.

For many coming here today, just being in the proximity of the church was enough to make them speechless. Michael Flannigan who drove from San Antonio to be here said seeing this in person manifests a different feeling than watching it on TV.

“You can’t help but feel something extra in the place where something like this has happened," Flannigan said.

Carolina Gamboa who brought her almost 9-year-old-daughter with her to view the church said chairs with the victims names will stay with her.

“The chairs, especially the one at the front, at the alter," an emotional Gamboa said. The children’s chairs. Seeing their names on the chairs and each chair in their places. It’s sad but it’s a reality.”

It was a reality that took Patrick Johnson on a 6 hr journey from his home, so that he could pay his respects in person.

“I think it’s love in action what we see here," Johnson said. "You’ve got a long line of people here, standing, waiting to get in. This is love in action, people are coming here they’re not just being nosey. Their hearts are filled and they want to pay their respects, so this is what we do.”

Members of this community walking out in tears, embracing one another after standing in the room where 26 people took their last breaths.

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