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Privacy for the pain: Third year anniversary of the Sutherland Springs massacre draped in solitude

Members of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs opted out of having a public ceremony to mark one of their congregation's darkest days.

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — Floresville paramedics Margaret Gonzales, Arturo Limon, and Sergio Limon remember Nov 5, 2017. But it's also a day they'd like to forget.

"It just seems that it was yesterday," Arturo said.

Their district was one of the first on scene when a gunman ambushed the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs congregation.

"It's hard every year. It's not going to get any easier," Sergio said. "All we can do is pay our respects."

The Wilson County emergency crew walked into the original church, where the massacre happened. Memories of that day came rushing back, treating the wounded in chaos.

"We just tried to talk to them...and comfort them and let them know that we were there for them still---no matter what," Gonzales said.

The gunman killed 26 people and wounded 20 others. His demise would follow the sanctuary shooting spree. 

Members of the church opted out of a public ceremony this year.

Instead, a Facebook post said, "There will be no speakers or service, just a somber, prayerful time of remembrance that #evildidnotwin."

A bell rang 26 times for each victim who died. The Facebook post said per church by-laws, this is what members envision for generations to come.

The paramedics said one of their co-workers lost nine family members to the tragedy. To honor them, they have a symbolic cross tattooed on their arms.

The cross design is stars representing each of the victims.

"Evil did not win," the paramedics said.

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