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Rising from the ashes at Mt. Carmel

March 7, 1997

Branch Davidians carry on beliefs and make plans to rebuild their church.

A monument was created at Mt. Carmel for the Branch Davidians who died in the 1993 fire.

The afternoon shadows of visitors to Mt. Carmel stretch across a memorial to the victims of the fire.


Andrew sits in front of his house where he spends the day reading.


Burned sections of the concrete foundation have been marked by the survivors of the fire.

Andrew stands in front of a Branch Davidian bus that was burned in 1995 by vandals.

Story and photos by Matthew Lester

Layout design by Sarah Hunter

and James Pirtle

A warm spring breeze blows across the Texas prairie where the Branched Davidian complex once stood.

A cracked cement foundation and flooded basement are all that remain of the site.

Four years have passed since the first government raid at Mt. Carmel.

The scars on the land and people involved are still healing.

Family members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents that were killed in the raid laid a memorial near the site.

The remaining Branch Davidians plan to lay another foundation and rebuild where Mt. Carmel once stood. A small group of Davidians lives in the Waco community and still holds church services on Saturdays.

'We want peace,' said Andrew, a Davidian who requested his last name not be used. 'There are many misconceptions about our beliefs.'

No memorial services were held by the Davidians on Feb. 28, the fourth anniversary of the initial ATF raid on Mt. Carmel. Internal divisions among the group have led to questions about ownership of the land and the rebuilding effort.

'We plan to hold services on April 19 and begin to rebuild,' Andrew said.

The future of the Branch Davidians and their church at Mt. Carmel remains to be seen.

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