- Historic Sites
An astonishing saga of endurance and high courage told by a man who lived through it
February 1988 | Volume 39, Issue 1
Now day broke, and still no help. Snow had blown in so deep their heads were about to touch the roof. The driver said, “I’m going for help; pray for my return,” and reached down and kissed and hugged his daughter. The kids that were still able to speak begged the driver not to go, for two of the older children had just got back from crawling on their elbows and knees for about a hundred feet down the bar ditch and could hardly get back. But he knew staying there any longer would help none. He turned and almost fell out the door. He never saw them again. He was found the next day about two miles south of the bus in a wheat field, both hands cut to the bone by barbed wire, trying to follow the fence. This was a brave man.
After he left and before the kids became delirious, they looked out and saw our car and screamed, “Help has come!” But to the sorrow of all, we left the car, not knowing that we had come within two hundred feet of hitting the bus broadside.
I have often wondered why we could not have traveled that extra two hundred feet. We might have been able to save two more children.
I attended the funeral of all six. They were buried in a row, as airplanes flew overhead and dropped petals of flowers, while the choir sang “From Every Stormy Wind That Blows.”
Just two hundred feet north of where our car went in the ditch is a marble monument that marks the spot where these courageous children lost their lives.
I had to grow up real fast in that thirty-six hours of hell and can still see those frozen faces. The only nice thing I can say is, we lost almost everything we owned, but we all lived through it. We could start over.