The Temple of Times burned on May 19. Photo by Kaleela Rosenthal
On Sunday, May 19, the “Temple of Time,” a temporary community symbol of peace and unity was set to burn. The installation, created by California sculptor David Best, has been displayed for the people of Coral Springs and Parkland since Jan. 28 as a place of reflection.
The Temple of Time symbolizes unity and healing after the gun violence incident that struck Parkland. However, there are no religious affiliations concerned with the structure, despite the “Temple of Time” name.
Throughout the span of three months, visitors were allowed to write notes or letters on the wooden temple to express their feelings and emotions. By burning these notes left plastered on the temple, it symbolized as a way to leave behind past emotions.
“It felt very calming to be able to write and draw whatever emotion I was feeling [on the temple],” former MSD student Dara Jaffe said. “It helped me release all the negative emotions I was holding inside.”
Although the Coral Springs temple had been on display for nearly three months, temples built by Best are usually burned after only two weeks on display, due to fear of damages and wood decay. The extended time frame for this sculpture has allowed for as many visitors as possible to see the art, despite the nearing hurricane season.
Hundreds of people attended the burning ceremony. Every attendee was advised by local city authorities to stay at designated viewing areas around the temple for obvious fire safety concerns.
The ceremony began with a few words from Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky and Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook. Both spoke of how the community must check up on one another and how resilient its members have been since the shooting last year.
“I urge you all to let go of something,” Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook said. “And like the smoke of the temple, please release it into the night sky.”
Certain family members of the 17 victims lost and a few of the 17 of those injured ignited the flame with long wooden torches. Onlookers gazed at the growing flame in awe as each group added to the flame.
“I’ve always had bad memories of the 14th [Feb. 14, 2018] and it has just never been a good time for me,” sophomore Fabian Cazorla said. “[The temple burning] was reliving, like something off my chest and closure in a way.”
Even with the crowd of iPhones capturing the spectacle, Parkland and Coral Springs residents alike allowed themselves to take in the view for a few minutes.
To conduct the safest temple burning possible, city firefighters started extinguishing the temple fire after the embers began to head west. For the 15 minutes the temple was burned, a black fog of smoke smothered Sample Road.
Surrounded by those who contributed to the construction of the temple and those who wrote in it, the burning of the Temple of Time was a symbolic sight. It symbolized not only the release of the past, but also the Parkland and Coral Springs community coming together once again.