Bunker Hill — The sun shined and the birds chirped Thursday evening as 25 people circled around the wooden cross that marked the spot where scout leader Art Anderson was killed just more than a year ago.
“Anyone notice how happy the birds are tonight?” Gary Working asked during the candlelight vigil honoring Anderson. “They’re singing Art’s song. He’s happy in heaven.”
Anderson was killed Aug. 21, 2011, while hiking the Nickel Plate Trail with two Boy Scouts and another adult.
He was 76.
Indiana State Police arrested Shane Golitko of Bunker Hill on a murder charge. Officers said Golitko ambushed Anderson from behind while he was talking to the Scouts, ages 11 and 12, about a tree.
Golitko will likely go to trial Oct. 15 on a murder charge.
Thursday, friends and family members remembered the day Anderson died.
“A year and a couple of days ago on a calm Sunday afternoon, the residents of [Bunker Hill] experienced some activity they weren’t used to,” Chuck Layne said. “Streets were closed down. People asked questions. Rumors circulated, and finally the truth came out. Together we were shocked. Together we grieved.”
He said Thursday’s memorial was a somber reminder of what happened that day. But it should also be a celebration of the life Anderson brought to his family and those he served, Layne said.
Scout leaders told stories about their camping trips with Anderson. He had been involved in Boy Scouts for more than 60 years.
“He mentored me as a scout leader,” Jeffrey Rupley said. “He was not only my mentor. He was my best male friend.”
Anderson’s wife, Bette, said she woke up on the one year anniversary of her husband’s death and saw a rainbow in the sky.
It was only fitting, she said. On the day of his death, several people told Bette they saw rainbows in the sky.
That reminds her of a memory she has of her husband, she said.
Anderson was a pilot, who often flew family members to different places for vacation.
“One time we were out West, and we flew right through the center of a rainbow,” his wife said.
The rainbow is a sign of hope and promise, several people at the vigil said.
Those at the vigil read from Psalm 23 that said, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”
They said Anderson had the heart of a shepherd. He shepherded all of the scouts that came through in his 60 years, and taught them how to be men.
“I’ve not seen anyone so dedicated not only to the scouts but to all of the activities in the community,” one scout leader said.
They honored that dedication at the vigil by raising their three fingers for the scout oath.
“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law,” the boy scouts said. “To help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
At the end of the vigil, all 25 people lit candles and swayed back and forth as they sang a scouting song for their friend.
“Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya,” they sang. “Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya.”
• Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, may be reached at 765-454-8585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.