Salem, Massachusetts "Day Of Contrition"January 1997 By Sharon Simone, M. Ed.
January 14, 1997
Journal Note: From Gallows Hill, Salem Massachusetts
It's a bitter cold night in Salem, Massachusetts. More than one hundred of us have just processed by candlelight from the Salem Witch Museum where we have witnessed a re-enactment of the Witch trials of three hundred years ago, to Gallows Hill where the "Witches of Salem" were hung. Holding my own candle, I feel alone in this group and shiver from the cold and the frailty of us all. Others in this huddling crowd, members of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation and the Justice Committee, former prisoners, family members holding their own separate candles and views about abuse, shiver with me. Carol Hopkins of the Justice Committee has granted my request to attend this closed conference. I am grateful to her as we gather at Gallows Hill. An eeriness pervades this sacred space we have drawn.
What we know together that is true is that we are cold and that the light of these candles offers small comfort. In the deepest recesses of our hearts we seem hopelessly divided, bent on our separate truths, rods thrust into the middle of our prayers eavesdrop…waiting to broadcast news of our distress.
In the face of such anguish I am humbled. What am I doing here, the only one I know with my view in this crowd? I keep climbing down inside myself searching for the prayer that will cover us all: "God help those who are hurting children right now…God help those who have been unjustly accused of crimes against children…God help those who are lying to themselves…God help those who are telling the truth…God help me and my Dad continue to tell the truth to each other…God let the fighting stop.