CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – It was a fire with a purpose.
There were tears and hugs as a work of art burned in Coral Springs. Flames went several feet high as a sea of people looked on and cell phones recorded.
“Put your secrets inside, your feelings inside, and let it go into the ether. It’s a very healing moment,” Patty Hutchinson said.
What was known as the Temple of Time has run its course. Written messages, flowers, and teddy bears were inside the temple. It opened back in February. That was the one year mark since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in neighboring Parkland.
“I think it was healing for the whole community, especially the parents who lost kids in this tragic situation,” Monty Escabi said.
The temple was never meant to be permanent. The planned fire served as therapy for a community still healing. The temple was created by California artist David Best.
Even though it was built with the 17 lives that were taken in mind, for many, like the artist, they were able to reflect about personal life events.
“When I do a temple, my wife is with me when we burn it. She’s not with me today. So I’ll just be missing my wife,” Best said.
Since many are still healing in South Florida, Best says you can help him continue his mission.
“Call your children. Make sure they’re alright. Call your mother, make sure she’s not depressed. Make sure your co-workers aren’t taking drugs or drinking too much,” Best said.
Now that the fire is out and all that’s left is the charred wood, some people say this ceremonial burning helped the community’s long road of healing.
“All these things that we had in our mind that went up to heaven,” Marlene Brala said.
The artist says he plans to build a temple in the northeast part of the United States. That will be built with the opioid crisis in mind.