BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- There are many things that can bring a community together. Sometimes, it's not always a good thing that does it. 28 years ago, Charlie Howard was killed when thrown off the state street bridge in downtown Bangor because of his sexuality.
28 years later, members of the Bangor Community and members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Bangor marched to State Street to the Kenduskeag stream to remember Charlie Howard, who was thrown off a bridge and killed by three teenagers on July 7th of 1984.
"Three teenagers decided to basically throw him off because he was gay way back in the 80's and I used to be against people who were like that and I'm sorry I ever did," said church member Karianne Rodgerson.
The crowd sang and tossed flowers in the river as the memory of Charlie Howard continues to flow on through the years.
"It's just remembrance of him and what he brought to the church and what he brought to everybody. I didn't know him, but I'm just a new member to the church but I heard about what happened and I just felt so compassionate about it and it's just a lot of remembrance and why we need to respect and basically let people be who they are today," said Rodgerson.
The annual memorial service was a promise made to the Charlie's mother, to make sure that he would never be forgotten. A service that has brought the community together year after year, with no sign of stopping
"It's awesome it's also bitter sweet in a way," said Rodgerson.
They hope that by remembering Charlie each and every July 7th, today's young people will see the impact Charlie had on Bangor, and these types of crimes will diminish.
"A lot of teens should learn from this it's very sad you don't just throw somebody off a bridge because of their sexuality no matter what you believe I hope a lot of teens learn from this," said Rodgerson.
And then pass that knowledge on to others.