Beliefnet
WACO, Texas, April 19 (AP)--For six years, those who came to mourn the lives lost in the fiery end to the Branch Davidian siege saw only slabs of concrete and the rusted carcass of a motorcycle.

This year, the organizers of a new Branch Davidian church built near the site hope it will serve as a more appropriate reminder of the tragedy that took place near Waco on April 19, 1993.

"The whole point is just to say that, 'Hey, we think that what happened here was wrong,'" said Alex Jones, a radio talk-show host who organized the $92,000 construction effort.

A dedication service was held Wednesday in Mount Carmel, 10 miles west of Waco and the site of the former Branch Davidian compound. Nearly 300 survivors, family members and supporters attended the event at the new, modest one-story church structure.

"It's a memorial to those who died and is a statement, a positive statement that says we are not going to stand by," said Violet Nichols, a volunteer.

Davidian Clive Doyle said, "government can come and destroy the building, but as long as there is one child of God, they cannot destroy the church."

Davidian leader David Koresh and some 80 followers died during the fire that occurred several hours after the FBI tear-gassed their compound to end a 51-day standoff with federal authorities. The government contends their deaths, whether from fire or gunshot wounds, came by their own hand.

Relatives of Branch Davidians have filed a wrongful-death suit against the federal government over the raid's fiery conclusion. A trial is scheduled to begin June 19.

Many in Waco, a university city of 103,600 about 100 miles northeast of Austin, have hoped for closure of the issue.

"Unfortunately, I thought someday we would shake it,"' said Robert Darden, a Baylor University English professor who studied the sect and wrote a book about Koresh after the standoff. "But I was wrong."

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