Charlie Howard Remembered 

Sunday marked the end of a weeklong remembrance of the death of Charlie Howard. He was killed in Bangor back in 1984: because he was gay.”It’s important to remember Charlie because his life and death happened here, this is our story, our tale and so both our hearts and our minds were involved and are involved in this,” says Reverend Rich Forcier, who delivered an emotional sermon titled “Why We Remember Charlie.”More than 70 people turned out at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bangor for the service. “This is a wonderful opportunity today, a wonderful occasion to celebrate his life, to change things, to make things better,” said Suzanne Kelly who lead a hymn and dance in honor of Howard.The 23-year-old howard was beaten and thrown to his death off the State Street bridge 25 years ago: all because he was gay. Today’s sermon focused on acceptance. “I think it starts from the inside out,” said Reverend Forcier, “I think a person comforts their discomfort with difference, with strangeness within themselves, and on a one to one level, an interpersonal level they challenge themselves to meet and learn and understand each other.”Most of those who attended the service then walked to the State Street bridge and threw flowers into the river. Some of the onlookers were overcome with emotion.Lois Reed, a Bangor historian, has been in contact with Howard’s mother. She has not been back to Bangor since her son’s death 25 years ago, but she’s hopeful that by honoring her son’s memory, the community can learn a valuable lesson. “We must remember, we must make sure it doesn’t happen again…I hope we send a message that such events are intolerable.”