Source: CVDaily Feed
A devastating flash flood tore through Colorado City and parts of Hildale, Utah, this September, taking 20 lives. By Friday, September 25, rescuers and police had recovered the bodies of 19 victims. But sadly, officials were still combing the area looking for one more — six-year-old Tyson Black.
For the families of the other 19 victims, the past week has been a time for funerals, grief, and memorial services. One California couple, who lost their lives in Zion National Park, were transported with an honor guard all the way home to Camarillo, CA. The funeral procession of Ventura Sheriff Sgt. Steve Arthur and his wife Linda Arthur departed Utah with an honor guard made up of representatives from the Utah Patriot Guard, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Utah Highway Patrol, and Mohave Sheriff’s Department.
That moving display of grief and love offers a sharp contrast to the secretive funeral services organized by members of the isolated Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FDLS), which lost seven members in the flash floods. Funeral customs vary widely across cultures, and even within cultures. The National Funeral Directors Association says that Americans burial customs are fast changing, and by 2017 at least 56% of deaths will result in cremation.
In Hildale, where thousands of FLDS church members live, only people who are officially a part of the FLDS are allowed to attend funerals. In some cases, former church members say they were kept away from loved ones’ funerals, which were held late at night to avoid attention. FLDS members believe it’s disrespectful for a nonmember to see a body before burial.
Therefore, the nine new headstones at a Colorado City cemetery were erected in an appropriately private ceremony. For the past week, friends and family who once belonged to the church have visited the cemetery to pay their final respects to the seven children and two women who were laid to rest there.
“You see these little markers, one..by one..by one..by one. It doesn’t hit ya until you see it,” said Dee Barlow, a former member.
The youngest victim, Sweet Caress Jessop, was born in 2010.