INSIDE EACH OF US
we stopped at the Canyonlands Airport briefly before heading to the memorial service. my mom pointed out it was the last place they were seen. we could imagine them happy and tired after a long day's work, loading all the charts and boxes of equipment into the plane, and looking forward to returning home for the weekend. i could picture it. and that was hard.
then we drove several miles on a sandy, dirt road to get closer to the crash site. we stopped and parked and walked that dusty 1/2 mile to the actual spot. what surprised me was the proximity of the airport. i could still see it. and throughout the service planes were flying over head - taking off and landing. safely.
i was not prepared for the emotions i felt when i saw the crash site for the first time. we were standing on a little rise and i could see a depression in the hill where the plane made it's initial impact. the spot in which everyone was instantly killed. from there the plane skidded up the hill and across the top, leaving a burned, blackened trail i could still see, even after all the winter storms. as i walked over that last little plateau i could see where the plane had come to a rest, down the other side of hill. the ground was white and ashy.
seeing it - the actual scars on the ground from the plane crashing and burning - made me go back to that first 24 hours. all the terrifying questions i thought in my head resurfaced. i worried about my dad and brother being scared or in pain.
it was with this unsettled feeling that i walked with my family down that final slope and took a seat on the front row of chairs. i hated feeling so many emotions in such a public way. but then i remembered. i remembered that all of us, about 120 people (according to the newspaper article ), love and miss the people who were on that plane. we were gathered together in love and support - looking for peace and continued closure.
i found that.
as we sat there, with the wind blowing and dust swirling around us, i felt the Spirit settle in my heart. i felt comforted and supported.
we listened to prepared statements about each person on the plane. we laughed while remembering them and cried as we felt our common loss. it was an amazing program. uplifting music. the unveiling of a wonderful monument. a beautiful dedicatory prayer.
my floodgates opened when immediately after the prayer, they propped up pictures of the ten people. as soon as dallin's was visible, madison yelled, "da' in, da' in, da' in !" he always wanted madison to like him and worked hard to win her over - he should be proud!
it was a really long, hard day. but i left feeling more at peace. the sacredness that i felt in that spot, in those hills, i will never forget. i will take my family there one day so they too, can feel it.
*a special thanks to the FBLA of cedar city high school. they made this monument and memorial possible and we can never repay them. they made saturday such a special day and gave us something that we will cherish forever. thank you for your service.
*pictures finally added: