Tears, Some Anger At Davidians’ Service
Sat., April 20, 1996
David Koresh’s niece ran in tears on Friday from the outdoor service that memorialized her uncle, father and 79 other Branch Davidians who died three years ago when a fire swept their religious compound, ending a 51-day federal siege.
But the gathering of a dozen Davidians and about 75 supporters on the Mount Carmel compound ruins in Central Texas near Waco was otherwise low key, unlike last year when it was interrupted by the startling announcement that a bomb had exploded outside the Oklahoma City federal building.
At this anniversary, the anti-government rhetoric was somewhat less strident. There was no honor guard of militia movement members, for whom the Mount Carmel raid by federal agents remains a rallying cry. And it broke up nearly an hour early when the last speaker didn’t show.
There was still anger about the raid, the siege and the continued imprisonment of eight cult members.
“The government viewed us as cockroaches who didn’t even have a right to exist,” said David Thibodeaux, a Davidian who survived the fire and now lives in California. Only about a dozen of Koresh’s followers now reside in the Waco area.
The small crowd nodded in agreement as children orphaned by the fire played on piles of debris nearby.
The only overt emotion was shown by Clive Doyle, 55, an otherwise taciturn man who had been a Davidian even before Koresh joined the Waco cult. When he mentioned a child or member who died during the siege, his voice cracked and he wiped tears from his eyes. His daughter was among those who perished.
“Yes, sir, I do believe David is coming back,” Doyle said he responds to questions of whether the cult leader would someday rise from death, “as will 200 who have died for their faith.”
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