“We were now changed, forever different. … We were now of the ashes, their smell and touch on our hands and in our lungs. We were now builders and planters, with a little past and lacking a present.”
— Chick Keller
As you explore this online exhibit, share a word or phrase here reflecting on our community's journey of resilience.
It's an important part of a lot of lives in Los Alamos to walk out the door and be on a trail.
“When I left Los Alamos … I had seven people in my car (how many people can you get in a Honda Accord?). As I looked back toward the mountain, I saw houses burning, and I realized all of Los Alamos could burn.”
“The Cerro Grande Fire created a sense of community that hasn’t existed here for 50 years.”
“In the end, it doesn’t matter, all these other things that divide us. What matters is that we’re there for each other when the crisis comes.”
“You get knocked down, and it hurts, and you cry, and you struggle, and you look around and you see a few other people that are in the same place and so you hug for a minute, and then you help each other stand up, dust each other off, wipe away the tears, and say, ‘Let me help you.’”
“I think [volunteering] really helped to bring the community together. They laughed, they cried, and they worked together. It helped people heal a little bit.”
“Throughout the repopulation of the town, one question was asked repeatedly: How can I help?”
“[Working with the Volunteer Task Force] was the first educational experience that combined my personal life, my academic life, and the life of the community. … It was empowering for a sixth-grade student.”
Header photo by Vint Miller, courtesy Los Alamos County.
Were you here for the Cerro Grande Fire? Click here to share your story with us and to read stories of resilience from friends and neighbors.
When the Los Alamos History Museum reopens, join us in the Guest Cottage to see Resilience and Regrowth in person. The museum exhibit has the space to share even more photographs, artifacts, and personal stories.
Thank you for your donations that made this exhibit possible!
Nancy and John Bartlit
Stephen A. Becker
Brent and Robyn Collom
John S. Hendricks
Hans and Ryn Hermann
Linda and Bob Hill
Mary Pat Kraemer
Robert C. Moore
Ben and Ruth Neal
Deborah and Rick Reiss
John and Kit Ruminer
Santa Fe New Mexican
Georgia and Gerry Strickfaden
Cherie and Andy Trottier
Roger Waterman and Emily McGay
In creating this online exhibit, the Los Alamos Historical Society is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New Mexico Humanities Council.