Site hosted by Build your free website today!

God Cannot Know You Shed Your Tears for Others

The six acre stretch of dying grass that cuts off Theodore Galley Road east of Interstate 45 was not always an empty field.

Thirty years ago, it was the center of a small town called Dears Fall. On the space where that field is now, there was a gas station, a hardware store, a shoe store, and a health food store. Across the street there was an office building and a discount movie theater.

The town was in Nebraska. Four thousand people lived in it. It was founded in 1891, but it disappeared in the year 2007. All that is left of Dears Fall is fields, empty lots, and the remains of some buildings.

* * * * *

No people live there now. People don't live in Matoon, Nebraska, either.

Matoon was a town four miles north of Dears Fall. It had about half the number of people as they did when it disappeared too.

That was thirty years ago. Today, Matoon looks a lot like Dears Fall. Nothing is left.

* * * * *

At ten-fifteen a.m. on December 9, 2007, a strange wind hit these towns where so many people lived and worked. It started in Dears Fall and moved through Matoon. No one knew where the wind came from, and no one knows where it went after it blew the towns away.

What happened was like a hurricane, but very different in many ways.

The strongest hurricane ever recorded had winds of 220 miles per hour. Scientists tell us now that the wind which destroyed Dears Fall and Matoon had winds of 400 miles per hour or more.

The wind was so powerful that it ripped buildings from their foundations, flung cars like they were playthings, picked people up and carried them away.

* * * * *

No one had any warning that the wind was coming. It was not part of a storm. It wasn't even raining in Dears Fall when the wind came. The sun was shining.

All that scientists knew for sure was that the ground a mile south of the town was suddenly damaged, and because of the way some objects had been thrown, they believed that the wind had struck Earth at a sharp angle, as if it came from above, high in the sky.

The wind lasted only about fifty-five seconds, and then it stopped three miles north of Matoon.

In those fifty-five seconds, it had traveled seven miles, destroying everything in its path.

Everything that got in its way was thrown very far. One car was found stuck in a tall tree all the way in Fowlersville, which was two miles east of Matoon. Little bits of people's houses, children's toys, even people themselves were found farther north than that after the wind disappeared. Many of the things discovered in the debris are listed in this story, discovered by survivors who came after, to help however they could.

mahogany-framed diagram for instruction on how to assemble a pepperoni pizza, originally issued in 1982 by the Southland Corporation to 7-11 store on Senseney Street, Matoon

handmade, hand-lettered wooden Ouija board, 24 inches by 18 inches, entire surface blacked out by permanent ink marker

bones and collar of a German shepherd, Mr. Brown, wrapped in a six by nine foot cloth Norwegian flag

handwritten note from Paul McCartney to Mrs. Rose Tiant of Dears Fall, ("Thanks for the figurine, however did you know? Delighted.") dated January 17, 1977

13,975 Iraqi dinars in 25-dinar paper notes, rubber-banded, all dated 1986, issued by the Central Bank of Iraq

three hundred fifteen loose copies of American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003, an illustrated history by Walter M.P. McCall, published by Iconographix Inc., 2003

United States Navy and Marine Corps medal for heroism not involving conflict with the enemy, enclosed in a red and white athletic sock

collection of 210 bootleg cassette recordings of Grateful Dead concerts, enclosed in ten Nike shoeboxes, lids glued shut

typewritten, uncorrected essay, "The Anterior Pituitary Gland and Gigantism", first draft, by Dr. Felix Brocane, the University of Iowa, printed on reverse sides of papers related to the divorce proceedings of Wesley and Sara Lakely, Matoon

weekday rail schedule of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, British Columbia, dated 1906

Boxed 500-piece jigsaw puzzle depicting a photograph of present day Auschwitz rail station, manufactured by SinGraph of Green Bay, Wisconsin

13 by 36 foot stage backdrop depicting an abandoned rail yard and sunset skyline of Dears Fall, property of The Dears Fall Community Players

twelve original ticket stubs from team handball finals, 1972 Munich Olympics

Marvel Comics / Spiderman lunchbox containing thirty-two ounces of marijuana and forty-five ounces of cocaine

first edition of A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist (1742) by Edmund Hoyle, reported stolen in 2004 from the private collection of Yves Bodel, Chartres, France

940 pages of an unpublished novel, The Rise and Fall of Mars, by David Poles, 1118 East Street, Matoon, enclosed in metal lockbox

instructions for the future burial of the ashes of Steven Oldsbree beside Lake Michigan, dated May 1893 by Steven Oldsbree, enclosed in a paperback copy of Side Effects by Woody Allen

People and things in towns other than Dears Fall and Matoon were safe. They only heard the sound of the wind. If the wind had been a real hurricane, the areas all around it would have been destroyed, too, but they weren't.

The only video of the wind was taken from the basement of a house. It was the only footage ever found.

The man who recorded it had set up the camera to tape the party he was giving for his parents' anniversary. It was only by accident that the wind was seen for a split second outside his window.

Not many people at all survived that day in Dears Fall and Matoon. The few who did remembered very little except for the sound of the wind, which some people said was like a jet airplane flying past them just a few inches off the ground. The sound was so loud that even if most people had survived, doctors say that they would probably have been made deaf.

* * * * *

One of the people who lived through that day was Miller Redding. He was born in 1917, which made him ninety years old when the wind came. He was born in Dears Fall, and had only left the state of Nebraska about ten times in all those years.

He fought in World War Two and when he returned to Dears Fall he was considered a great hero. All his life, he worked for the town and helped it to grow and thrive. He worked with many charities and everyone seemed to know him.

He couldn't imagine not living his whole life in Dears Fall, but when he got very old he got very sick and had trouble taking care of himself. His only son, who lived in Minnesota, finally convinced him that he had to move into an assisted living home. But there weren't any places like that in Dears Fall. The nearest one was in the town of Modriel, which was five miles away.

Miller would have done anything to stay in Dears Fall and live out the rest of his days, but in the end, he had to go to Modriel. The wind came and blew Dears Fall away while he and his son were in that town signing the papers so he could move into his new home.

He spent a week with many other people going through what was left of the town he'd lived in all his life. Then, just three days after he left it for good, he died in his sleep in Modriel.

* * * * *

Tom Braunigan was a boy who lived in Matoon. He was Nebraska's state chess champion in the year 2007. He could beat anyone who played him, and some people thought he could beat anyone in the world. When he won the state championship, he was just ten years old.

His parents owned a diner on Main Street. Neither one of them knew where he had gotten his love for chess. He had just loved the pieces and the board from the time he was four, and never loved doing anything else more, even though he was a good baseball player too.

No one in Nebraska had ever been so good at chess. He was even on television a couple of times. He might have become the only famous person ever to live in Matoon, but he was in class at his school when the wind came. His parents were at the diner.

* * * * *

Matoon was a going to be the subject of a movie in 2007. The movie was about daily life in a small town. It was ten hours long and was going to be shown on public television on five different nights. Everything in it was real, including all the people and the things they said and did.

The people who wanted to make the movie didn't think Matoon was right for it, though, so after a few weeks of filming there, they moved to Fowlersville. People in Matoon were a little upset when that happened, but not too much. They didn't know how they would feel about being the subject of a movie, and they didn't miss the attention.

When the wind blew away Matoon, it didn't seem right to show a movie about Fowlersville anymore. So a month before it was supposed to be shown, the people who made it decided not to. The producer said they would wait a few years and then show it, but they never did.

People have been respectful of Matoon and Dears Fall in that way ever since that day in 2007. Neither one of the towns was ever rebuilt, which no one expected. Just empty fields and roads remain, which surprises many people. In America, things are usually rebuilt when a disaster strikes, but not this time.

* * * * *

The wind seemed to affect much more than those two small towns after it came and went. For two decades afterward, the country, and parts of the world, didn't seem to be able to invent, create, or do as many of the ambitious things it used to. Advances in technology, industry, and even the arts truly slowed down. The years 2007 through 2027 came to be known as The First Sorrow.

People were sorrowful because they did not feel safe anymore. If a strange wind could come out of nowhere and cause so much destruction, maybe it would happen again. It was hard to look into the future when this seemed possible.

People were also sorrowful because it felt like God was against them. He never told them why the wind had happened or what it meant. Even if you didn't think about God much or even believe in him, people felt like they were helpless against some cruel force in the world.

* * * * *

For a while, people believed the government had caused the wind. One man came forward and claimed that he had helped the government with many projects that made the atmosphere and the weather do what it wanted them to do.

In the end, though, it turned out what this man said wasn't true. The reasons for the wind remained unknown. Nothing like it has ever happened again, anywhere. Scientists consider it one of the great mysteries of all time.

* * * * *

A lot of people even thought this was the one time since life began that God had showed himself to us—and he struck out in anger.

More than forty-four hundred people died that day, almost everyone who was in the two small towns, and some people who were caught between them.

diary of Anne Leyton, Paris metro map blank book, 120 pages, 31 filled diary of Tammy Janiero, blue agate blank book, 144 pages, 60 filled diary of Laurie Haldeman, red three subject notebook, 180 pages, 14 filled diary of James Moore, Adventure Dog blank book, 120 pages, 11 filled diary of Deborah Jaspers, Mary Engelbreit journal, 96 pages, 88 filled diary of Cindy Garland, five subject notebook, 220 pages, 30 filled diary of Vicki Probst, Sierra Club cougars blank book, 116 pages, 55 filled diary of Susan Promise, Lovers journal, 152 pages, 2 filled diary of Rafaela Macha, African Safari blank book, 100 pages, 10 filled diary of Jane Kowalski, burgundy leather blank book, 168 pages, 68 filled diary of Judy Boyd, Angelina Ballerina blank book, 88 pages, 4 filled diary of Erin Lindsay, black single subject notebook, 100 pages, 24 filled diary of Martha Vanormer, It's My Secret journal, 200 pages, 60 filled diary of Michelle Rears, Sail Journey blank book, 52 pages, 31 filled diary of Sharilyn Vogel, Fan Quilt Smithsonian Institution blank book, 120 pages, 15 filled diary of Lauren Roberts, My Anything blank book, 136 pages, 42 filled diary of Sarah Mann, Pat Johns handmade Lighthouse blank book, 80 pages, 6 filled diary of Lawrence Lau, Willie Mays The Catch blank book, 104 pages, 7 filled diary of Marina Alt, leather day organizer, 40 pages, 9 filled diary of Susan Amway, Mother and Child blank book, 160 pages, 101 filled diary of Mary Mulrow, pink college-ruled diary, 80 pages, 18 filled diary of Robin Johnson, Amish Morning blank book, 88 pages, 26 filled diary of Laura Dixon, blue Petite locking diary, 108 pages, 20 filled diary of Gaylen Bohen, Winter in Paris blank book, 132 pages, 51 filled diary of Darcy Matzke, malachite blank book, 148 pages, 66 filled diary of Carolyn Hughes, white single subject notebook, 150 pages, 37 filled diary of Jean Cruz, Thomas Kinkade blank book, 132 pages, 42 filled diary of Alvin Lewis, Flintstones mini blank book, 48 pages, 1 filled diary of Diane Apperson, Monet Water Lilies blank book, 148 pages, 47 filled diary of Dawn Deckman, Poet Within dream journal, 132 pages, 27 filled diary of Kathleen Banville, Japanese book of days, 84 pages, 11 filled diary of Alyssa Adams, Santa Fe Cactus blank book, 128 pages, 2 filled diary of Jennifer Linky, Irises and Magnolias blank book, 220 pages, 55 filled diary of Janet Sandgren, Great Women Leaders blank book, 120 pages, 79 filled diary of Eric Sandford, green three subject notebook, 180 pages, 131 filled diary of Valerie Pronti, American Quilts personal journal, 168 pages, 90 filled diary of Carmen Merritt, Baby's First Year journal, 100 pages, 17 filled diary of Barbra Miernik, yellow steno book, 110 pages, 53 filled diary of Gabrielle Jones, Mary Kate and Ashley locking diary, 116 pages, 34 filled diary of Susan Murdock, red rose floral blank book, 96 pages, 6 filled diary of Keith Burello, navy blue handmade dream journal, 76 pages, 23 filled diary of Salma Millen, blue and green plaid sketch book, 106 pages, 13 filled diary of Doug Guerra, Empire State Building blank book, 124 pages, 40 filled diary of Kendra Hedges, Smiling Cat blank book, 124 pages, 13 filled diary of Angie Goodine, Seaweed blank book, 100 pages, 33 filled diary of Brenda Flores, Barbie address book, 44 pages, 9 filled diary of Robin Ridgeway, floral wreath blank book, 140 pages, 46 filled diary of Cynthia Chute, Diana Moon Goddess blank book, 192 pages, 45 filled diary of Sharon Runyon, brown blank recipe book, 76 pages, 24 filled diary of Daniella Walker, Dreamcatcher junior journal, 70 pages, 64 filled diary of James Nordquist, Lord of the Rings blank book, 128 pages, 70 filled diary of Darlene Pritchett, gold embossed single subject notebook, 130 pages, 39 filled diary of Robert Halladay, Ansel Adams blank book, 160 pages, 25 filled diary of Joe Monfredo, T-Rex blank book, 104 pages, 16 filled diary of Yvonne Autry, Dears Fall History date book and journal, 110 pages, 66 filled diary of Elizabeth Judd, Cherub Parade blank book, 108 pages, 61 filled diary of Donald Ramsberger, hieroglyphics blank book, 132 pages, 130 filled diary of Helena Karman, Asian blossoms blank book, 240 pages, 35 filled diary of Carolyn DiSilverio, American Girls journal, 70 pages, 44 filled diary of James Harsley, Boy's List book, 100 pages, 17 filled diary of Lee Dixon, Ocean Life National Aquarium blank book, 124 pages, 12 filled diary of Jessie Kennedy, Hello Kitty mini journal, 24 pages, 5 filled diary of Kathy Andersen, Van Gogh Starry Night blank book, 160 pages, 40 filled diary of Amy McKay, Autumn Inspirations sketch book, 30 pages, 8 filled diary of Barbara Russell, Country Pig address book and journal, 144 pages, 16 filled diary of Lori Bell, Iquitos handmade blank book, 40 pages, 12 filled diary of Jennifer Wolicki, Chagall blank book, 80 pages, 14 filled diary of Pamela Quinn, Stars and Stripes Forever blank book, 132 pages, 99 filled diary of Heather Smiths, Mirrored Onyx sketch book, 200 pages, 73 filled

A small steel safe was found in the miles of wreckage. When it was opened up, a lot of papers were found inside. They were the journals of a man named Andrew Klee.

Andrew Klee was a respected professor and historian. He had four college degrees and had taught at some of the best schools in America. He also published six books. He even once worked for the president—helping to write a special speech to the United Nations.

When he was seventy-two years old, doctors told Andrew Klee he only had about a year to live. So he moved from New York City to eastern Nebraska, and then to Dears Fall.

He didn't know anyone in Nebraska. He was just looking for a place to live peacefully while working on a book about what it felt like to die with no one he knew around him. He wondered about death a lot, and had even taught classes about it.

He lived in Dears Fall for four months, but he was in the big city of Lincoln for a few days when the wind came.

Klee then took his papers and moved back to New York City. Being anywhere near Dears Fall after the tragedy made him more sad than he could bear.

He didn't publish his book about dying, but he wrote that he believed that most people in Dears Fall and Matoon had died in the gentlest way possible. They hadn't had time to think about their deaths, so they wouldn't get sad about it like he was. They didn't even have time to worry about their loved ones. And they would be remembered long after they were gone, even though none of them had been famous. Andrew Klee said he envied the way they had passed away.

* * * * *

A lot of people would disagree with how he felt. They might want to have time before they died to reflect on all the things that were beautiful about life, and to cherish their loved ones.

"Thirty Tough to Spell Words", Jared Christenberry, grade 3, Matoon Elementary School "Symbolism in J.D. Salinger's A Beautiful Day for Bananafish", Laura Hewitt, grade 8, Dears Fall Junior High School "Parasites and Their Functions", Joanie Mack, grade 6, Charles Porter School "Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", Brian Rupert, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "What My Father's Day at Work is Like", Joseph Kubek, grade 3, Matoon Elementary School "The Life and Work of A.A. Milne", Allison Headley, grade 8, Dears Fall Junior High School "The Origins of Alcoholics Anonymous", John McGreary, grade 9, Dears Fall Junior High School "Patagonia", Kevin Rollins, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "Rosa Parks", Bart Scharnick, grade 6, Matoon Elementary School "The Grand Canyon", Nicole Winger, grade 5, Matoon Elementary School "The Megaliths of Easter Island", Ernie Tuck, grade 7, Charles Porter School "Rome's Coliseum", Forrest McKee, grade 6, Matoon Elementary School "Twenty Symbols in Sign Language", Taejoon Kim, grade 4, Matoon Elementary School "The Cheetah is the Fastest Animal on Earth", Daniel Henry, grade 2, Matoon Elementary School "The Cuban Missile Crisis", Jose Henriquez, grade 9, Dears Fall Junior High School "How to Juggle", Carter Kraft, grade 3, Matoon Elementary School "Becoming a Movie Director", Kenneth Miceli, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "My Favorite Football Player: Peyton Manning", Michael Presmont, grade 3, Charles Porter School "What is an Earthquake", Frank MacPhail, grade 5, Matoon Elementary School "Nebraska's Complex Climate", Richard Kalkus, grade 5, Matoon Elementary School "Nebraska, Facts About Our State", Isabelle Redding, grade 3, Matoon Elementary School "Many Facts About Sweden", Edward Rivera, grade 2, Matoon Elementary School "South Korea", Laurence Schwartz, grade 6, Charles Porter School "If I Were a Tree", Gloria Simpleman, grade 2, Matoon Elementary School "Wolves", Jacqueline Denny, grade 4, Matoon Elementary School "The Battle of Chancellorsville", Deborah Artis, grade 6, Matoon Elementary School "What Makes Up Our Visible Spectrum", Melinda Burkette, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "Eclipses", Ki Han Choi, grade 5, Charles Porter School "Seven Great Inventions", Charlie Metzinger, grade 4, Matoon Elementary School "The First Thanksgiving", Sharon Dannheim, grade 2, Matoon Elementary School "What Happened to Amelia Earhart?", Dawn Canavaro, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "Bill Clinton, Story of a President", Bernie Bishop, grade 5, Matoon Elementary School "What I Daydream About", Joshua Allman, grade 3, Matoon Elementary School "Arthur Miller's The Crucible", Condoli Hawes, grade 8, Dears Fall Junior High School "A Review of The House With a Clock In Its Walls", Rhontell Simon, grade 5, Matoon Elementary School "A Review of Jacob Have I Loved", Derek Zettler, grade 4, Matoon Elementary School "The House of Dies Drear", Frank Walker, grade 6, Matoon Elementary School "Book Report: The Pigman", Jennifer Gudmunsen, grade 5, Matoon Elementary School "Book Report: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", Tom Shaffer, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "Jackie Robinson, Hero", Kurt Landrum, grade 4, Charles Porter School "Ski Jumping, the Best Sport", Benjamin Warden, grade 5, Matoon Elementary School "The Rules of Baseball", Jeff Zernik, grade 3, Matoon Elementary School "Why Dinosaurs Became Extinct", George Hoard, grade 6, Matoon Elementary School "Sports Teams Named For Animals", Brett Ashton, grade 2, Matoon Elementary School "Matoon", Julianna Gugino, grade 9, Dears Fall Junior High School "A History of Matoon", Amin El-Ezaby, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "Computer Animation in the Movies", James Corbett, grade 9, Dears Fall Junior High School "Public Parks of Nebraska", Donna Brown, grade 6, Matoon Elementary School "My Miniature Golf Course", Leon Horry, grade 4, Matoon Elementary School "Apollo 13", Tysons O'Leary, grade 6, Matoon Elementary School "The Different Blood Types", Patrick Gannon, grade 3, Matoon Elementary School "Our Trip to Safeway", first grade class of Mrs. Ellen DeRosa, Matoon Elementary School "Great Bands: The Beatles", Vincent Connell, grade 6, Matoon Elementary School "The Meaning of Pessimist", Nicholas Van Trees, grade 2, Matoon Elementary School "Lord of the Rings", Keith Williams, grade 4, Matoon Elementary School "The Beginning of World War II", Linda Hedgpeth, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "The Birth of Jazz", Gene Noland, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "The Underground Railroad", Dot Insley, grade 6, Matoon Elementary School "On a Dairy Farm", Daisy Kraft, grade 2, Matoon Elementary School "My Favorite Web Site", William Imhoff, grade 5, Matoon Elementary School "H.P. Lovecraft", Scott Kneeland, grade 9, Charles Porter School "A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner", Lois Chopra, grade 8, Dears Fall Junior High School "The Deer Tick Virus", Regina Miller, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "My Favorite Show is Smallville", Stephanie Rudy, grade 3, Matoon Elementary School "The Presidents on Money", Paul Boudoin, grade 4, Matoon Elementary School "The Invention of the Diving Bell", Geoffrey Wade, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "Dolomite", Marissa Tate, grade 6, Matoon Elementary School "Dolphins", Christopher Tapella, grade 2, Matoon Elementary School "The Tragic End of the Donner Party", Gloria Royals, grade 5, Matoon Elementary School "Great Vampire Stories", Kendall Harnest, grade 6, Matoon Elementary School "It's Important to Exercise Because....", Stacie Craddock, grade 5, Matoon Elementary School "Vegetarians Eat Healthier", Kathi Brandeaux, grade 8, Dears Fall Junior High School "How to Collect Baseball Cards", Mark Andre, grade 5, Matoon Elementary School "Future Goals: To Be a Chemist", Raymond Aaron, grade 6, Charles Porter School "Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time", Douglas Hollister, grade 9, Dears Fall Junior High School "Washington D.C. History", Laurine Muse, grade 7, Dears Fall Junior High School "The National Anthem", Isabel Strickland, grade 3, Matoon Elementary School "No Oceans, No Earth", Anthony Roman, grade 5, Charles Porter School "Three Mile Island and Chernobyl", Perla Fassad, grade 8, Dears Fall Junior High School "Animals Found on a Farm", Duane Perry, grade 2, Matoon Elementary School "Sunlight, a Poem", Hector Lindley, grade 1, Matoon Elementary School "The Dears Fall Swindle of 1955", Sissy McElhone, grade 7, Dears Falls Junior High School

Andrew Klee's thoughts about the nature of dying were written in 2007, but they weren't found until two years later. He placed some handwritten pages all alone in his steel safe that had been found in the wreckage, and he buried it in the ground in Dears Fall, in a place where he thought people would someday build a memorial to those who died. He got the place almost exactly right. When workers started to dig near the spot where the old town hall building was, they found the safe once again, and read what was inside.

It was just clever guessing on Andrew Klee's part that the old town hall would be the spot for the memorial. No one had told him that's where it would go. If he had been wrong, his words still wouldn't have been found to this day, and maybe they never would. He had never told a soul about the safe.

In the pages inside it, he wrote what he thought would be a good inscription to put on the memorial. But in 2009 the state of Nebraska hired its young poet laureate, John Gollins, to come up with an inscription instead. The memorial was thirty feet long and thirty feet wide, and was made out of bronze. It was a very detailed sculpture showing the two towns as seen from high above, as God might have seen them before the wind, before the First Sorrow.

The state wanted a poem that described the people as proud and beautiful and heroic. John Gollins, the poet, wandered the empty fields for a long time, hoping to be inspired. He even brought with him some things that had been touched by the wind that day two years before, just to feel them. But he had to confess that he just couldn't think of anything worthy enough to inscribe on the monument to those who died in Dears Fall and Matoon. So nothing at all was written on it, not even Andrew Klee's words. Instead, John Gollins stood before the ninety-five remaining citizens of the two towns who gathered around on the day of the unveiling and gave them a speech.

* * * * *

It was a plea on behalf of all who lived on Earth.

* * * * *

He asked God that day to return for just one more moment in time. The people would stand beside the monument for one full hour, and make no sound, and be watchful for the slightest sign that God wanted humans to begin again.

They would take the smallest turning of leaves, or one snowflake falling from the sunlit sky, or even a slight breeze that suddenly changed direction, as a sign that they should rebuild what God had decided must not stand. They would rebuild in awe and reverence, not just in that spot, but across the whole world. They had learned the terrible cost of disobedience.

But even though their pain was genuine, they knew God could see through their words and into their weakness. For no matter what promises they made to live their lives differently, in the end human beings always made things come out the same. They could not seem to stop themselves from hating, and killing, and turning beautiful things ugly. For this they asked understanding, and pleaded with God to see them for the good they kept trying to do.

So for one hour they would be completely quiet, watching for a sign.

* * * * *

The poet John Gollins said all that to the gathering, and then the silent hour began.

I believe that whatever's given them that day as a token to memory,
whatever balms are spoken for the ones who are left,
those dozens of souls will walk back to their cars in ones and twos
as wordless as their creator has always been,
having been given no more answers or portents
than the very first life that crawled from the comforting sea
and had to take the feeling of the sun on its back
as good enough reason to explore just a little bit farther,
foraging on a harsh beach where sound did not yet exist
and unable to tell if the strange music which soon rose all around it
was the first gift from history,
or merely the end of knowing home.


Roger O'Connell, 48, favorite song "With a Little Help From My Friends" Karen Selsky, 44, favorite song "Dancing Queen" Julie Adamley, 29, favorite song "Don't Toss Us Away" Diana Moseby, 26, "Wicked Game" Thomas Nordwall, 50, "Summer of '69" Ruth McKeen, 57, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" Bob Mashetty, 54. "In My Room" Sam Hodges, 40, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" Mary Craven, 30, "Sara" Diane Dominich, 33, "We've Got Tonight" Jamie Ireland, 49, "Let It Be" John Maw, 51, "Wichita Lineman" Arthur Poretz, 55, "Yesterday, When I Was Young" Leslie Venasco, 61, "Downtown" John Sheloski, 22, "Red Barchetta" Barbara Mazza, 42, "The Long and Winding Road" Serena Baker, 48, "Walk Through This World With Me" Naomi McNeil, 21, "I Don't Want to Wait in Vain" James Freundlich, 39, "Ain't That Lonely Yet" Aaron Geller, 33, "My Girl Josephine" Eric Powanda, 34, "Band on the Run" Cecil Halfant, 45, "Turn, Turn, Turn" Denise Addas, 41, "Operator" Natalie Purdy, 47, "Then He Kissed Me" Mariet Zimmerman, 56, "Annie's Song" Gary Rasmussen, 38, "Bell Bottom Blues" Robert Kennell, 29, "Riders on the Storm" Ray Canisius, 18, "Should've Been a Cowboy" Fran Fergus, 39, "Take It Easy" Kimberley Michalke, 48, "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" Renee Johnson, 55, "Walk Away Renee" Christine Weatherill, 59, "All I Know" Carolyn Tinto, 14, "Dog and Butterfly" Bob Hoskinson, 33, "Allentown" Priscilla Lee Craig, 36, "Your Song" Tim Arledge, 42, "Going to California" Randall Romanko, 36, "Sundown" Melissa Vantine, 19, "Crazy For You" Anthony Vara, 59, "Moon River" Frank Mason, 50, "Maybe I'm Amazed" Lorraine Fishman, 70, "Vincent" Dennis Lewark, 27, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" Ruby Millandro, 32, "Amarillo by Morning" Kay Trader, 33, "Leather and Lace" Bryan William, 49, "Can We Still Be Friends" Gavin Jurusik, 35, "King of Pain" Fred Clines, 54, "Mystery Train" Amy Gedney, 60, "One Mint Julep" JoAnne Wykoff, 37, "Wedding Bell Blues" Susan Layton, 25, "Holding Back the Years" Mark Falletti, 40, "Father and Son" Pattie Dahl, 51, "Someday We'll Be Together" Dean Aboneau, 20, "A Sort of Homecoming" David LeDonne, 45, "You Are Always on My Mind" Kenny Hess, 44, "Baba O'Riley" Chuck Burwell, 26, "I Don't Wanna Play House" Curt Stacy, 57, "Time of the Season" Eric Wittig, 22, "Bittersweet Symphony" Margaret Wiseman, 30, "The Sun Always Shines on T.V. " Sheryl Leach, 16, "Cecilia" Jennifer Dollar, 41, "You Can Call Me Al" Martin Cragle, 41, "Bring It On Home to Me" Jim Autry, 32, "The Sea Refuses No River" Frances Schulwood, 55, "Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord" Christianne Moreno, 33, "The Man With The Child in His Eyes" Alicemary Rowlett, 24, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" Leigh Dodds, 41, "All I Ask Of You" Grace Pytner, 50, "Flowers on the Wall" Donald Bowdin, 46, "And You And I" Rosa Edgardo, 71, "The Little Drummer Boy" Richard Peasley, 38, "She Believes In Me" Peter Irons, 43, "Be" Eddie Miriam, 11, "Jump" Lynne Donehue, 28, "It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go" Martin Hume, 25, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" Dick Satterwhite, 33, "Layla" Ellen Sargent, 44, "Here, There, and Everywhere" Allan Malinchak, 39, "Let's Spend the Night Together" Patsy Uloffson, 41, "Sunday Morning Coming Down" Al Goldfield, 40, "Everybody's Talkin'" Cindy Derr, 15, "What's the Use of Wings If You Can't Fly" Nicholas Brant, 56, "Blueberry Hill" Paul Piers, 41, "Many Rivers to Cross" Robin Agnew, 31, "Rocket Man" Thurston Acheson, 34, "Don't Answer Me" Carla Buchanan, 34, "Faithfully" Mark Voss, 51, "Bus Stop" Brook Rollet, 54, "The Train Kept A-Rollin'" Patrick Petney, 44, "Wanted Man" James David, 23, "Uneasy Rider" Kara Miller, 47, "Many Tears Ago" Trish Hazelton, 33, "I Can't Make You Love Me" Rhonda Clints, 51, "I Say a Little Prayer" Josh Foreman, 44, "Ain't No Sunshine" Carla Brown, 60, "It's Too Late" Billy Cole, 31, "My Ever-Changing Moods" Sarah Towne, 23, "Hey Jack Kerouac" Barry Gilpin, 53, "Green, Green Grass of Home" Dave Szoch, 31, "Tower of Song" Glenne Reeve, 46, "A Case of You" Patty Fogelburgh, 55, "If You Don't Know Me By Now" Baker Jackson, 43, "Waterloo Sunset" Andrea Nichols, 50, "Windmills of Your Mind" Vera Vasquez, 38, "Both Sides Now" Jack Dean, 32, "Walking in Memphis" Robert Aft, 37, "Make It Easy On Yourself" Darlene Mears, 55, "September Song" Rodney Strickler, 20, "Born to Run" Ellen Kuwalnich, 40, "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" Paul Lee Summers, 42, "Eight Miles High" Zack Martinez, 22, "Champagne Supernova" Iris Franks, 27, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" Olive Smith, 28, "Suspicious Minds" Terry Bigbie, 40, "Life in a Northern Town" Roan Torquern, 18, "Please Forgive Me" Susan Waldo, 39, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" Ricky Driessen, 7, "Ob La Di, Ob La Da" Doris Gumm, 25, "He Stopped Loving Her Today" Kylie Romano, 30, "Be Good to Yourself" Orrin Kirby, 33, "Driver 8" William Graynow, 24, "Love Gun" Kim Salomon, 41, "The Lady of Shalott" Darcy Tingle, 25, "Bury My Lovely" Grant Guy, 25, "I Walk the Line" Bev Midulski, 36, "To France" Aaron Youngs, 32, "East at Easter" Michelle LaFair, 40, "Here Comes the Sun" Erin Allen, 13, "Hands Clean" Lindsey Vandervere, 21, "Linger" Simon Stanshall, 37, "Tea in the Sahara" J.T. Eddy, 44, "Chiseled in Stone" Deanna Tettleton, 30, "Is There Life Out There" Wayne Lewis, 33, "The Captain's Song" Melissa Everchance, 16, "Rocky Mountain High" Sid Yolley, 59, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" Jan Hillman, 47, "Scarborough Fair" Lorna Atwater, 30, "Kiss From a Rose" Vance Faulk, 19, "Shout It Out Loud" Barbara Flintoff, 25, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" Audrey Kurst, 57, "God Bless the Child"