At the end of October, a small group of people enjoyed a very special day at Wellington. For years, the spirits there have been asking for a memorial that lists the names of the dead and remembers the sacrifice of the rail workers who fought so diligently to save the Wellington trains from certain destruction. As you know, many of those rail workers and train passengers died.
Recently, two very generous donors (who wish to remain anonymous) created three signs designed to the Forest Service's specifications and placed them at Wellington. The signs memorialize those who died, as well as the hard work and sacrifice of the rail workers. I am so grateful to those donors. They heard the plea of the Wellington spirits and gave them what they most wanted. Now, perhaps, the spirits can finally find their way Home. It is my deepest hope this is so. It's been a long century. They deserve to rest.
That's why, one sunny day in late October, a group of us descended upon Wellington to celebrate the spirits there. We dedicated the lovely signs with a prayer from a Lutheran minister. It was an emotional day, but a beautiful one as well.
Will Wellington's story end here if the spirits return Home? I don't believe it will. Regardless of whether the spirits return Home, the truth of Wellington is this: while it is the story of an avalanche and of people who died and survived, it is so much more. Wellington has touched many people, and each one has become an important part of the story. Wellington is, and has always been, as much about those people who love it as the spirits who have spent over a century there. Wellington has put people in contact, set lifelong friendships, healed broken hearts, and allowed people to believe something happens after we die. For many of us, it has brought out the very best of who we are.
If you have been touched by Wellington in any way, then it is your story, too. That is the legacy the ghosts of Wellington will leave behind when they return Home. It has been the most profound experience of my life. I'm not sure why the spirits there chose to tell their story through me, but I am so humbled and grateful they have. Now, I pray they can truly rest in peace.