Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rome, Ga. Honors Fire Victims

The friends and classmates of four Winecoff fire victims gather on the covered back porch of the town's nicest country club - its golf course splayed out before them - to hear the words. Amid the white columns they mingle. Sixty years on, their lives are entwined the way they inevitably become in a small town. They all know each other's virtues. They even know each other's faults. Few care anymore; most all has been forgiven - they are still bound - sixty years on.
The speaker takes the podium and asks that the day begin with prayer, and it does - from a victim's best friend. He knew them all. They hear what they came to hear. That their lesson will be taught anew. They hear and see that the cast brass plaque they scrimped and saved for so many decades ago has been carefully restored to its original luster. The one with the names on it. The one that honors the victims, their lost friends, the four boys from Rome.
They all remember the day and the grueling uncertainty of not knowing who would return from Atlanta and the scorched ruins of The Winecoff Hotel. The day that binds them still.
They also hear that a new memorial is almost ready to be placed, right downtown, in a sidewalk, in a public place and on public land.
They hear the words of a survivor. They receive the thanks from grateful kin. Their loved ones are remembered.
They watch as candles are lit in honor of the boys and then extinguished with care. They know it is their friends who bind them - the ones who are not there.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fire Victims to be Honored

The Rome News-Tribune reports that a remembrance and plaque dedication ceremony will be held in Rome, Ga. on July 25, 2007. The four Winecoff fire victims to be honored, were in room 1030 of the Winecoff Hotel when it burned on December 7, 1946.

The Winecoff catastrophe was made all the more tragic by the loss of thirty of Georgia's best and brightest high school students. Each had earned their memberships into a youth assembly to represent their areas in a mock legislative session at the State Capitol.

So beloved and respected were the boys from Rome that now, sixty years later, many of their classmates and others will gather--just to remember them. The details are here.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Newly Discovered Photos!

Two photos of Winecoff fire victim Laura Miranda have been discovered! Winecoff Fire reader Gail Williams made the find. These photos, taken in 1944 at a marina near Lake Jackson, have been among her family's effects for all these years.

In 1946 Laura Miranda worked as a beautician in the Loew's Grand Theater Building, across Peachtree Street from the Winecoff Hotel. She was scheduled to report for work early Saturday morning so she elected to take a room in the Winecoff on Friday night rather than take an early trolley into town. She was in room 826. Laura Miranda was thirty six years old at the time of the tragic fire. Gail Williams asks that the descendants of Laura Miranda be made aware of the find.