Civil Rights victim’s father passes before 50th anniv. commemoration event

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – As the nation prepares to commemorate the children killed in Birmingham on September 15th, 1963 one of the families touched by tragedy that day- is again in mourning.

The father of 13-year-old Virgil Ware  will not get the chance to be part of the commemoration. James Ware Sr. died last week after an illness.

Virgil Ware was 13 when he was shot and killed while riding on the handlebars of a bicycle his brother James was peddling. It happened the same day that Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Denise McNair and Cynthia Wesley were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and the same day that 16-year-old Johnny Robinson was shot and killed

Melvin Ware says he and his younger brother Virgil shared everything, even a birthday.

“Coming up he, he was greatly missed,” said Ware. “You know all the controversy and all the light is on the 4 little girls, but we’re so glad that…that people are now considering Virgil because he was, he’s the, he’s the last one on that day to get killed, by the same way, by the same people, and for the same reason.”

Even though their family suffered the ultimate loss, the loss of a child, and in such senseless manner- they say their father wasn’t bitter or hate filled and told them not to be either.

“He wouldn’t want us to throw stone for stone you know to be angry and he always told us to let the Lord take care of it,” said Ware.

According to the family, 90-year-old James Ware Sr. succumbed to an illness on September 5th just shy of the 50th anniversary of September 15th, 1963.

Melvin Ware says it hurt their family that it took years before their sacrifice was recognized, but they can take comfort that his father lived to see the world take note.

“About three weeks ago at the art gallery downtown and they gave Virgil an award for outstanding citizen from 2009 to 2013 that was the highest award that you can get from the state,” said Ware.

“From one standpoint it was a senseless, none make sense out of it murder and on the other part it’s…we look at the outcome of it and you know it was a great outcome because it stood for something. Stand by, by freedom.”

The family says the funeral for James Ware Sr. is planned for  Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Saint Luke Missionary Baptist Church in Pratt City. He will be buried at Carver Cemetery.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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