Bogota, Colombia-1976

The horrific blasting sound jolted me wide awake in seconds. My eyes struggled to focus in the darkness of the small, simple, white room on the second floor of the apartment. In the twin bed against the wall, I wondered how a noise in my dreams could have had such an effect. I shrugged it off sleepily, desiring to find sound sleep back in the rack beneath the covers. 

While attempting my reentry into dreamland, I began hearing jumbled sounds of people outside my door. I perked up and listened intently, trying to hear what was being said. When I heard the word, FIRE!  I reacted. It started with a burst of motion starting with my feet hitting the floor, blue jeans zipped around my waist, shirt flung over my head, boots shoved onto my feet and my hand on the door knob, all in a matter of seconds! I fumbled for the lock and once found, stumbled into the hallway. Chaos surrounded me.  I got up so fast that my blood rushed to my head causing dizziness. Feeling faint, I leaned against the wall, wondered if my time was up.

At the bottom of the stairway a twisted pile of broken, splintered wood, blocked our path. The front, once enclosed by a metal entrance door and two-car garage door, and separated by a brick partition, was now fully exposed to the street. A gaping hole across the building front opened to the gathering Colombian crowd in the glass-shattered streets staring at the carnage before them. A young American girl, maybe 13 or 14, stood in terror, her wide blue eyes piercing through her strands of hair, gazed at the carnage before her. She clutched a blanket and pillow and seemed to be in shock.

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