Colbert describes days after “heart-breaking” shooting at Mother Emanuel

Updated: Sep. 5, 2015 at 1:51 AM EDT
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Days after nine people were killed inside of Mother Emanuel AME Church, thousands of people walked the Ravenel Bridge in symbol of solidarity.

New Late Show host Stephen Colbert was one of them.

"It was really, really beautiful," Colbert said about the Bridge to Peace event. "One of the amazing things - it was just a few days after the terrible tragedy at Emanuel Church, people were unironically giving each other the peace sign at the bridge."

Colbert, a James Island native, returned the gesture – the moment was captured in a photograph by Mt. Pleasant resident Gerald Mindel.

"I thought, 'Am I really going to give a peace sign back to people who drove by?' I did and I looked around and everybody on the bridge was doing it -- it was really beautiful," he recalled. "I hadn't seen that since I was a kid: people sort of sincerely offering each other peace in public."

Colbert said he shared the community's grief following the "heart-breaking" June 17th massacre. The church he was married in, Second Presbyterian Church, is just two blocks away from Mother Emanuel.

"I was also deeply moved by the response of Charleston and my home state," he said. "I thought it was something beautiful that came out of something terrible and I was not surprised by how beautifully Charleston responded."

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