DAYTON (CNN) — An Ohio couple got married last Saturday in Dayton and took their celebration to a popular nightlife district.
Just hours later, nine people were killed as a gunman opened fire in the area.
“We were having the time of our life and we went from the mountain top to the lowest valley in a matter of an hour,” said Cody Kreager.
Saturday night began like a dream for Cody and his new wife Leigh. They had tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony with family and decided to continue the festivities at a bar in Dayton’s Oregon District.
“We talked them into playing our first dance, so they played Van Morrison’s ‘Into the Mystic’ and slow danced to it,” Cody said. “It was perfect.”
They danced happily in each other’s arms, but the newlywed bliss was short-lived.
“You try to look back and remember the wedding day, but you can’t because that happened,” Cody said.
Gunfire erupted over the music, people ran frantically to get away.
“Everybody’s getting down and my first instinct was, ‘Where’s my wife?'” Cody said.
The two had taken cover separately, emerging after police gave them the okay to come out of hiding.
“We saw a lady who had been shot in the stomach, I don’t know if she made it,” Cody said. “We saw a guy shot in the leg, don’t know if he made it. We saw ambulance, firemen running around.”
The incident continues to replay in their minds.
“I hate to say this but, I just want to see her smile again,” Cody said to Leigh. “I just want to see her happy.”
It has given the couple a new appreciation for life.
“There was a lot of people who weren’t as fortunate as us and my heart breaks for them,” Cody said.
The couple is thankful for the first responders who put their own lives on the line.
“There’s people up there… To me, those guys, I’ll remember ’em till I die,” Cody said.
Praying for the lives lost, while determined to move forward as a couple, the Kreagers are beginning their union stronger than ever.
“There was a point in time where I thought I wasn’t going to see her again,” Cody said. “I’m not going to let the hate in someone’s heart ruin the beauty that’s out there and Dayton’s a beautiful city, and Dayton people are strong people.”