Help memorialize a miracle
Editor’s note: This letter has been edited for length
In the spring of 1986, an event occurred which garnered national and international attention when the elementary school in Cokeville, Wyoming, was taken hostage with a demand of $2 million for each child. The perpetrators kept rescue attempts at bay by controlling the trigger of a bomb which had the capacity to level a wing of the school and kill all 154 hostages.
In answer to the prayers of the children just before the detonation of the bomb, children described angels descending through the ceiling. Several described the action and the conversation of the angels before the bomb went off — chiefly to warn them to move to escape avenues and to assure them that they were loved and would be protected. These children described the brightness of the angels and were later able to identify their individual angels in old family photo albums.
Divine intervention occurred when the bomb accidentally detonated, but only the first phase activated a gasoline bomb set off by blasting caps. A fireball shot straight up and then spread in all directions. The heat in the room became intense, melting plastic and setting off shrapnel from exploding cartridges.
The children had been trained in fire drills to evacuate a dangerous area (and were) all out in about 45 seconds. Many of the escapees were blackened by the smoke. They escaped out of windows and to the hallways, some with hair and clothes ablaze, some with serious burns. Many children escaped without burns; 79 children were hospitalized overnight with smoke inhalation and flesh burns. Some healed quickly, some required long-term medical attention, and some did not require medical attention at all. EMTs and ambulances were available immediately, with children shuttled to hospitals in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.
Investigators and bomb technicians unanimously agreed that the saving of the children was miraculous — wires mysteriously cut to the second stage of the bomb, leakage of gasoline that made powdered metals and flour a paste, a first stage explosion that sent a fireball straight up instead of in all directions (children said that angels encircled the bomb prior to its explosion), no explosion from the powdered materials, a quick evacuation that saved hostages from flying shrapnel and many other elements. The reduction of the perpetrators from six to two simplified the scene.
The accidental bomb explosion set one of the perpetrators afire — her husband came out of the children’s restroom, saw her condition, shot her, then retreated to the restroom and shot himself.
A grateful community recognizes the miraculous survival of all the hostages and the death of the perpetrators in a frightening event that could have killed them all. It credits the children’s prayers as a major factor in their survival.
A memorial to the intervention of the angels and the survival of a generation of children is appropriate. A memorial would acknowledge the heroics of teachers and parents and the assistance of firemen, ambulances, lawmen, bomb experts, psychologists, hospitals and staffs, and the concern and assistance of our nation’s citizens.
An architectural rending is in the process. There will be cards books, miniature statuary and other appropriate items will be available for sale. We intend to locate the planned memorial structure adjacent to busy Highway 30, near the town of Cokeville.
The sponsor, with like-minded people, believes it is in the nation’s interest to preserve the knowledge of the intervention of heaven and to appropriately memorialize the event. We invite your support in assuring our elected representatives that you are anxious for them to initiate legislation to create the memorial. Write us a letter of your support. Thank you for your consideration. Contributions to this newly-formed foundation would be very useful and we would be grateful for them.
One nation under God.
Sharon R. Dayton, chairman
Cokeville Miracle Memorial Foundation