By TERALENE FOXX
Mid-June the book Resilience and Renewal was published and is now on the Historical Society Website.
The May anniversary date of the Cerro Grande Fire has passed. Twenty years ago the Cerro Grande fire changed the community, many lives, and the ecosystem.
The book, Resilience and Renewal is a continuation of a series previously written on the Cerro Grande Fire: Lest We Forget (2001) and Touched by Fire (2010).
The present book represents a perspective of people interviewed 20 years past the event.
The book includes interviews of people who had lost homes, those evacuated, those new to the community, those who watched their hometown burn from afar, firemen and firefighters. The stories for those previously interviewed were all compiled into this volume so their understanding of the impact of the event on their lives is recorded.
I had just finished over 40 interviews the weekend before the COVID lock-down. At first, I felt like the information on the Cerro Grande fire was old news. But as the COVID-19 lock down continued, I realized that disaster has many similarities: people helping people, life disrupted, and more. Thus I added an Afterword (See Los Alamos Daily Post, May 7, 2020 link). A major difference however is that the present disaster is worldwide and is taking much longer for recovery to take place. There is also a great deal of uncertainty.
So I continued to publication, which the Historical Society generously supported, because the Cerro Grande fire changed our community and so will COVID-19 (we sadly already see businesses closing their doors). These stories are important to remember and help us as we look back on what events influence our lives and our perspectives.
Liz Martineau, Executive Director of the Historical Museum, shared that, “The Historical Society is grateful for the generosity and work that was required to share and collect these stories. The book is a positive addition to the historical archive where it will be available for research purposes for years to come.”
The Historical Museum has not yet been allowed to open. When it does open, see the display about the Cerro Grande Fire (also online) and peruse the bookstore. In the meantime, look at the website and the array of books found in the store about Los Alamos and the surrounding area.
You can find the book here. If you are local, use the coupon code LOSALAMOS (no spaces) and they will deliver it to you. Although the Museum is closed (according to the governor’s orders), the Historical Society personnel are around and working.
I thank everyone who was interviewed, edited, and helped with the design. I also thank the Historical Museum and Nature Center for help and support.