In a rare joint appearance on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, spoke Tuesday night about the impact the mass shooting that claimed the lives of 18 people has had on the city of Lewiston and the people of Maine.

Senators Susan Collins and Angus King Brianna Soukup and Gregory Rec/Staff Photographers

During their address, Collins and King read the names of the victims, including a short description of each person’s life and background. They read the names while standing next to a board that had the victims’ photographs.

Collins and King each mentioned how close-knit the Lewiston community is and how their deaths impacted the entire state, which King described as “a big small town.” Collins said one of her Lewiston staffers was familiar with nine of the victims. Thirteen others were wounded in two separate attacks by Robert Card, 40, of Bowdoin.

“Mr. President, I’m often asked particularly around here why Maine is so special, why Maine people are always so connected to our state no matter where they may roam. And I always have the same answer, that Maine is a big small town with very long streets,” said King, Maine’s former governor. “We know each other, we care about each other. There’s a fabric of our community. It is a beloved community.”

“And we go through storms, we go through all of the vicissitudes of life together, supporting one another and caring about one another. A week ago there was a tear in the fabric of our community,” King said.

“No words can diminish the pain, shock, and understandable anger felt by the families who lost loved ones. Nevertheless, it is my hope that they will find solace and strength in knowing that they are in the hearts of so many,” Collins said. “As my colleague from Maine has just said, Maine in many ways is a small town, a place of caring communities where people know their neighbors.”

Collins told the Senate that four members of Maine’s deaf community, who had gone to a local bar to play cornhole, were fatally shot by Card.

“One of the families taught me the American sign language symbol for I love you,” Collins said. “It reminds me of this proverb – death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory that no one can steal. In their memory, let us support one another through this difficult grieving period and hope for brighter days.”

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