So. The promised post about our little detour from Dallas.
But I might have to tell a few random little stories to get to my point. I apologize if you showed up hoping to see pictures of the dog.
She’s actually not featured much on the blog. Sorry.
Anyway. Whenever you think of Waco, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me, it’s the infamous Seige of the Branch Davidian compound and subsequent fire that killed most of them.
The last time we were in Waco is kind of a funny story. We flew back to the US from France through Chicago, except in Chicago our flight to San Antonio got canceled and the line to get to the ticket agents was quite long. When we finally got there, our only option to get even remotely close to SA was to go to Dallas. The ticket agent, seeing our hesitation said, “If it were me, I’d go anywhere but stay in Chicago. You don’t want to get stuck here.” Well, O.k.! Dallas it is.
We got to Dallas sometime in the early morning to a mostly closed down airport, except for all the people stuck there with us. There were no other flights out and there was also a huge line to get rental cars. You’ll never guess, but there were also no hotels. This is, of course, after flying all the day before from France. I sat with the kids, sleeping on the floor, while Mr. French checked out all the possibilities for getting back to SA.
Long story, slightly shorter, he found a military guy who had to report for duty the next day that had gotten a minivan (because he called the rental agency the minute he’d landed, unlike us.) But he was willing to drive us down to SA if we paid our share of the cost. No problemo. Thank you thank you thank you! (I still can’t thank him enough.)
So, we finally all piled into the van with a guy we’d just met, after flying in from France after being out of the country for 10 months. We made it about 1/2 an hour into the chitchat before we just couldn’t keep our eyes open. And I tried, because I kind of felt bad about the situation.
The next thing I remember, I woke up to hear Mr. French asking where we were and the guy driving the van says, “Waco.”
To which Mr. French says, “Waco? Like The Waco?”
And then I fell asleep again.
(In case it’s not obvious, we made it to San Antonio safe and sound. The guy dropped us off at a Denny’s and he, I’m assuming, was able to report for duty on time.)
So, a couple of weeks ago, as we were starting our drive home, looking at the map, Mr. French says, “Oh, we’re going through Waco. I wonder how out-of-the-way it is to go to that compound? or what’s left of it.”
My phone couldn’t locate it but Mr. French’s did, so we followed it and sure enough, there it was.
Actually, at first we passed right by it, but I saw the sign that said, “Branch” out of the corner of my eye, so we turned around. Mr. French parked outside the fence and walked in to ask these two guys working on a fence. He was gone for at least 20 minutes. We’d found the right place alright and the two men were part of the church that currently resides on the property. (The surviving remnant.) And one guy proceeded to talk Mr. French’s ear off about their beliefs. At the end, he offered us a chance to “come and build the kingdom with them”, to which Mr. French replied, “Oh, we’re just passing through. We’re from Ohio.” (one benefit to moving a lot is that it’s never a lie to say that you “just moved”.)
Anyway, after that, we drove in to see the memorials and some of the ruins. There were supposed to be maps at the church building, but they were apparently out so we couldn’t really see where anything had once been. There are several new buildings. There is one place that we couldn’t really tell what it was or had been, but looking at this picture online now, the cement “pool” like thing in the back is still there. Nothing else from that picture appears to be standing. The other interesting thing is that the building was well off the road (which is a dirt road, off the highway). It’s definitely out of the way.
There are several small memorials. Closer to the church there is one for the ATF men that were killed.
There is one for the victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing as well.
Closer to the road, there is a larger one with a plaque for every person that died, including name and age.
It really just leaves you with a sense of tragedy. It was all so senseless. I think there was wrong on both sides. And it’s sad that people had to die.
I still remember, sitting on the corner of my parents bed, watching as it was happening on T.V.. I remember seeing a tank moving up to the compound, as it was called, and just feeling horrified that people were probably dying. At the time, we didn’t know all that was going on, and part of me, I remember, hoped that maybe they’d somehow escaped or something.
It made for an interesting car ride home, at least.