Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy, ceremony marks 1 year since attack

A day after Darrell Brooks was sentenced to life in prison for killing six and injuring more than 60 when he drove his SUV through the Waukesha Christmas parade, Waukesha leaders said with the trial over, it’s time to push forward as a community.

At Cutler Park Monday, Nov. 21, a special ceremony will mark one year since the Waukesha parade attack. City leaders hope it will help people heal. Even the mayor and police chief said they are still processing the horrors of the Nov. 21, 2021 attack.

Brooks was sentenced to more than 700 years in prison for killing six people and hurting dozens of others. 

On Thursday, Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said the next step for his community may be one of the hardest.

(Photo by Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)

"Just getting past this part of the healing, getting past the trial does help the entire community heal," said Reilly.

Reilly said he didn’t watch Brooks’ trial, but he did watch the sentencing hearings and heard victims bravely speak about their pain and loss.

"I did meet with some of the people who testified that night," said Reilly. "For them, I think it was a sense of relief.  That’s what I picked up from them."

(Photo by MUSTAFA HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images)

To mark one year since the tragedy, the city will hold a remembrance ceremony Monday at Cutler Park. Reilly said it will be similar to the vigil held here days after the attack.

Governor Tony Evers and Waukesha’s police and fire chiefs will speak after a moment of silence.

"In that worst day, I saw the best in our community, the best in our first responders," said Daniel Thompson, Waukesha police chief. 

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Thompson’s message to the community was the same as what he tells his officers.

(Photo by Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)

"We gotta be OK with saying it’s OK to hurt," said Thompson. "It’s OK not to feel right."

There’s hope coming together Monday and again lighting blue lights throughout the city will show Waukesha is stronger than ever.