They were going about their normal day one hot summer day in 1966: A granddaughter visiting town; friends and classmates meeting up for food and chat; a policeman; a roving reporter. That day was August 1, 1966 - the day the tranquil University of Texas campus was forever changed by a man who took up position in the UT Tower's observation deck, firing at random.
The following is an oral history of the hours which changed Austin and American history forever - from the people who were there, recalling memories as vividly today as the day it happened 50 years ago.
Cheryl Botts Dickerson - "It was 1966. A simpler time."
Ray Martinez - "It was a normal Monday morning."
Artly Snuff - "It’s hard not to get emotional about it. It was the most horrific day of my life. It was hot that day."
Cheryl - "It was August the 1st and it was hot."
Artly - "About a hundred degrees. I graduated from Austin High in May of 1966, and I went to register as a freshman at UT."
Cheryl - "I rode the bus to Austin to spend a week with my grandmother. I always did that every summer."
Ray - "As a matter of routine I was preparing my uniform for the day because I was supposed to go to work at 3 p.m., and I was polishing my brass and my boots and whatever because I was real proud of being an Austin policeman and I wanted to look very sharp."
Cheryl - "When I got to the bus station, I called my uncle to come pick me up. And I had to wait about 45 minutes for him to show, and so the ticket agent and I just began having a conversation, and he asked me if I had ever toured the campus, and I said no. All those years I'd lived near Austin, never had been there. And he said, 'I'm off tomorrow. Why don't I just pick you up and give you a tour?' So as soon as he picked me up, we went straight to the campus and straight to the tower. That was the biggest, most important building on campus, and so that's the first place we went."
Claire Wilson James - "Yes, Tom (Eckman) and I were in the same anthropology class. Some people have that a little mixed up; they say that we met after our class, but we were in the same class together, and we walked over to the Chuck Wagon.”
Cheryl - "We got up there about 11 o'clock. We registered with the lady in the reception area, signed the book, went out on the observation deck, stayed out there about 30 minutes because it is absolutely gorgeous up there. You can see forever, and there’s four sides. You can just see so much.
“While we were out there is when he beat up Mrs. Townsley, and hid her body behind the couch. When we walked into the reception room, I noticed that Mrs. Townsley was not at her desk, but it was close to lunch, so I just assumed she had gone to lunch and didn’t think anything about it.
“As we started walking into the building, there was a reddish-brown swath across the floor, something like a mop would make. As we step over the stain, there’s a movement to our right. And we both turn and look. And at that point, Whitman raises up from bending over the couch. He turns to face us, and he has a rifle in each hand. We're just walking and talking. But as we turned and faced him, I smiled and said hello. He smiled real big and said, 'Hi, how are you?' And we just kept walking.
“And I'm often asked, 'You didn't think anything about the guns?' Well, I noticed them. I was curious, but not curious enough to question him. Another reason possibly that he did not kill us because we did not impede his progress. We did not question him. We did not even stop walking. As we were going down one elevator, the Gabour family from Texarkana was going up the other elevator. And as they tried to go up those stairs, he shot, he killed two of them and shot two others with a shotgun as they tried getting up, which was just maybe one minute after us.
“As soon as he took care of them, then he went out the door, blocked the door and started shooting."
Claire - "We were with a lot of friends and drinking coffee, and we knew that we had to go put a nickel in the parking meter. We started walking and we got past the West Mall and we were just about in the middle -- not quite the middle of the South Mall, and that’s when...
"I felt a huge shock, just a jolt. I thought I had stepped on an electric wire."
Neal Spelce - "I heard a reporter on the police radio. It was something like, ‘Unit 254, we've had a report of shots fired at UT campus.’ And the police radio was just crackling with stuff like that. So I jumped into the mobile unit – at that time the other one we had – and went driving to the scene. I was driving to the tower and I could see what was going on and started broadcasting at that point and knew immediately this is serious, this is bad."
Ray - "I called the police station, and the telephone operator answered. And then of course, I identified myself, and then she connected me with Lt. Thomas. Asked Lt. Thomas, I said, 'Do you need some help?' He said, 'Yes.' I called my wife up at work and said, 'Dear, there is a man on top of the University of Texas tower shooting people, and I'm going to go, but don't worry because I am going to be working traffic. I’ll be all right.’ So she said, ‘OK, be very careful.’ So I got into my uniform, and got into my little ‘54 Chevrolet that I had at the time, and I left."
Cheryl - "We headed around to the front of the tower and there was a young man laying on the grass face down. And there were four or five people crouched up against the side of the tower under the bushes. And Don asked them, 'What is going on?'”
Claire - "Tom never spoke -- he said, 'Baby, what's wrong or something like that and then he never spoke again, and we laid there for 90 minutes. They said he was shot in the neck and bled out."
Artly - "There was a friend of mine that I had graduated from Austin High with -- James Love, and he was staying at the Stag Co-op at 21st and Rio Grande (streets). And so I was over at his house and we were playing chess. Just before noon, the radio announcer came on after a song and said they thought somebody was on top of the tower with an air rifle.”
Neal - "He’s shooting, and ambulances are screaming and it's just a chaotic scene."
Artly - "And we were right nearby so we jumped up -- I remember the chess pieces flying -- and ran over to campus. It was only about four blocks away."
Neal - "Sirens were screaming back and forth, shots were being fired."
Claire - “That’s when I knew I'd been shot, probably 10 minutes in. I was actually shot right here, and you know he obviously aimed for the baby, but I didn't realize that for years. There were men working, using jack hammers and that's how I somehow got the idea that I had been electrocuted, that there was a cord or something."
Ray - "I could hear Neal Spelce, the anchorman from KTBC talking, ‘another shot, another shot, it’s a war out here,’ etc., and ‘Please, people, stay away from the campus.’"
Neal - "Stay away! Stay away from the campus. There is a madman on top of the tower. I can see him. He's shooting."
Cheryl - "One of the men said, 'Somebody's shooting at people from the tower. And so Don grabbed my hand, and we ran into the building next door. And immediately we looked at each other, and it dawned on us both at the same time. Oh my goodness, that must be the man we just saw. And we were in shock. Literally just in shock. Because... this time, shots were ringing out. And people are falling."
Ray - "Well I got to 19th and Lamar, took a right, and was going up the hill. And then when I crested on the hill, I could see toward 19th and Guadalupe, I could see that all the intersections were covered by policemen, so I said I'm not needed for traffic. So plan B, I better go and assist in some other capacity."
Claire - "When you lose that much blood, I am told that it feels like you are melting, so then my next idea is that there is some kind of ray gun, and you know that was all we heard - we didn’t have Star Trek yet, and so I just thought something is dematerializing me, and I am just going to nothing. And then I started hearing shots and I thought the war has broken out over here."
Ray - "When I got out of the car I could hear a lot of shooting, heavy shooting. I was in the Army so I know heavy caliber rifles when I hear them."
Claire - "I thought it was an invasion. This is just over time, and then I thought it was the Vietnam War had broken out.
"It makes no sense but you are trying to make sense of it."
Ray - "It sounded like a war. I could hear a lot of sirens and I knew it was bad."
Neal - "We had known by that time that a policeman, Billy Speed, had been shot and killed. One of our own reporters was standing there beside him when the policeman got shot. A boy on a bicycle kinda behind me was shot while he was moving."
Cheryl - “While we were in the building, I called my grandmother, and I said, ‘Grandma, we’re gonna be a little late getting back. There’s something going on.’ She said, ‘No, lunch is almost ready. You guys need to come on.’ So I told Don what she said and he said, ‘Well, let’s go down to the basement floor. We’ll go out the back door and leave.’ So we go down to the basement, we open the back door and 20 feet in front of us a guy gets shot and falls to the ground." And Don closed the door and said, ‘We are not going anywhere.’”
Ray - "And got to the drag, and then I ran across Guadalupe Street, and I knew that if I could see the top of the tower, the sniper could see me, so I had to take evasive action and hide behind buildings and trees."
Neal - "You could hear the voices -- 'Get down! Watch out!' 'What's happening?' 'I don't know. Someone's shooting.' 'Help that person. That person looks like he got shot.' (Siren sound) Ambulances are screaming and all. And here I am broadcasting.”
Ray - "And so I worked on my way all the way up to the South Mall, and I came up to where the statue of Jefferson Davis used to be, came behind the statue, and there on the sidewalk I saw blood, a little puddle of blood, and I didn't realize at the time but that's where Billy Speed -- police officer Billy Speed -- had gotten shot and died. But I was standing right there by his blood."
Artly - "Before we got a hundred feet onto campus, there was somebody in the street hiding behind a building, yelling, 'Take cover! Get out of the street.' You know, don’t walk down the middle of the street. We headed into Sutton Hall, which was to our right, ran up three stories and then to the east end of the building so that we could see what was going on."
Ray - "And every once in a while I would hear somebody shoot a rifle and I would look around and I didn't recognize it because it was a citizen, you know it wasn't a policeman."
Artly - "All the students, the UT students, had gone home and gotten their deer rifles and come back to school and were firing on the tower. I think it could be the largest unorganized mass act of vigilantism in U.S. history."
Neal - "It was literally a chaotic scene. And then of course when you see the people getting shot and you see people lying there in the sun in a pool of blood and stuff like that, it really comes home. But you didn't have any way to say, oh yeah, this is another school shooting. There had never been anything like that."
Artly - "From there we could see people lying on the mall. And even from there, I could see (emotional) that Claire was very pregnant."
Ray - "I looked on the South Mall, and I could see a lady, a pregnant lady, laying on her back, withering in the hot sun on the concrete, and you could see that she was pregnant, and there was another person there that appeared to be dead, and I could see some more dead people. And I made up my mind that I had to get into the tower.
"Now, I had a dilemma because I had to run by the lady that was wounded and not pick her up or try to get her out, but I figured if I stop, he might kill me and so then I'm not contributing to the solution to the problem. So, I ran by her, and ran to the main building."
Claire - "I wasn't aware of it. I was very calm. The sky was very blue. You know my body was just preparing to die."
Artly - "We left Sutton Hall and moved up to where the Jefferson Davis statue used to be. And it was only about 100 feet from where Claire and all these other people were lying out in the middle of the mall. Claire was the only one I saw move, and I was worried that there was a sense of urgency because I thought the tower shooter could see her move and might shoot her again."
Claire - "I now know that people said I was moving all the time and they thought, they were worried about that. The only time I thought I moved was when I pulled up my leg, and I just kind of went, if I get shot I get shot."
Artly - "And the crowds grew. There was maybe a couple dozen people eventually hiding behind the statue or the wall where the statue was, and you could look across and see a couple dozen people standing under the Woodrow Wilson statue, which is right across the mall.”
Ray - “Once I got in, the first thing I did, I went and found a telephone, and it was the old black dial telephone. I dial the first number, and a busy signal came out because it was jammed.”
Neal - "There we are on the campus. People are crouching behind trees and behind flagpoles and wherever they can find cover.
Artly - "Nobody...everybody was scared to run out there 'cause all those people had been shot (emotional). They’re lying out there shot, wounded, dead. And they’re scrambling, some are scrambling and running.”
Artly - "There was a girl that had run out and was not shot and laid down next to Claire and talked to her the whole time to keep her awake, to keep her aware.”
Claire - "Then when she came out probably about after 30 or 45 minutes, I'm not sure. When she came out, it really was wonderful because for one thing it made me not feel alone. And another thing it gave me, you know, I could keep talking and not just drift off, and she kept me talking the whole time."
Artly - “I think there's a special spot in heaven for people like that. She lay on the hot concrete under a 100-degree sun and kept Claire with us that whole time. Rita (Starpattern) lay out there for an hour and a half under the sun. To me that's bravery."
Ray - “Yes, I was scared, because if I said I wasn't scared I am a liar or I am an idiot, one of the two. But I was scared, but you put the fear behind you, and you just, you’re trained to go there and do your job and hope for the best. Trust in your God and hope you come out alive. I got on the elevator, and I pressed the 26th floor.”
Artly - “There’s a sound… an audio sound from that day that sticks with me.”
Ray - “While I was in the elevator you could hear, it was muffled but you could hear the rifle shots."
Artly - “The way the bullets were echoing.”
Ray - "These rifle shots, when they fired, it would bounce from building to building. It was kind of like rolling thunder.”
Artly - “There’s an echo after every shot.”
Cheryl - "There were police on all different levels of the building and every time they would shoot at him, it would just echo all over that building."
Artly - "This was before SWAT teams. This was before EMS. It was just us."
Ray - "As a Catholic I had been taught to say an act of contrition in case you die, if death is imminent. I said an act of contrition by the time I got to the top floor.”
Artly - "The first guy out was a Vietnam vet. I think his name was Ellinger [sic]. And he rolled over one guy that was out there and the fella I think had just been shot in the arm and he’d been laying there.” (The veteran was named Brehan Ellison.) They were laying on the hot concrete. They were under 100 degree suns. And it became intolerable."
Claire - "It wasn't exactly painful. The heat overruled the pain."
Artly - "James and I ran out there and picked her up. She was laying in a pool of her own blood. I got her ankles and James got her wrists, and we carried her from there to safety on the sidewalk by the Jefferson statue."
Claire - "Oh, yeah. I just thought that this is the end. I thought that really the whole time. I really had no hope. So when Artly walks up and James, it's like, 'Oh, there is a chance.'"
Artly - "I shouldn't have waited so long...”
Claire - "I tell him that he did it at the right time, that we didn't know how long that that was going to last.”
Artly - “Claire... Claire laid out there for an hour because of my cowardness [sic]."
Claire - “My whole world changed when he came out because he and James Love -- that minute that he came out -- everything changed. Before that I was all shut down, ready to die."
Artly - "I should have gone out sooner. When you think about it, the top of the tower is square; there’s four sides. So the odds are three to one anytime that he would not have been on that side of the tower. So I should have gone out earlier. I wish I had."
Neal - "Here you saw a gun battle, out in the open, people getting shot, heroes rushing out to rescue people, all along risking their own lives and doing all this."
Artly - "I remember thinking as we carried Claire away from the tower -- I can feel it now -- a small cold spot right between my shoulder blades on my spine. I can feel it. And about the size of a coin. And I thought that was where I was going to get hit. But fortunately I wasn't. I don't think we were fired at. I don't think we were shot at."
Claire - "James Richard Love was this tall young man who was in my anthropology class. And he stood up to ask a question and he had to say, 'I am James Richard Love.' And then he framed his question and the professor, whose name I unfortunately cannot remember, just reamed him up and down for using the word like instead of as in his question. Just tried to embarrass him, make him feel like a fool. Then here a few days later, this man who's been humiliated comes out and saves my life."
Artly - "It was hot. I was sweating, and as we came down the stairs with Claire, my hands full, my glasses slid off my face, and everything turned into a blur. There were some other students there at the statue. They picked Claire up, carried her to an ambulance."
Neal - "We had ambulances being dispatched by funeral homes. There was no EMS."
Artly - "By the time I got my glasses back, the Vietnam vet had carried Claire's boyfriend, Tom Eckman, who was the second one hit. He was hit in the neck. And during the hour and a half out there, he had bled out. They laid him on the sidewalk. I've never seen a complexion so pale. It was like alabaster or a white marble, a pure white marble. But it was Tom."
Artly - "It was shortly after that, I think, that the shooter was killed."
Ray - "The elevator door opened, I had my gun out, and I was looking at a pistol and a rifle. The pistol was Jerry Day, who was a police officer, and the rifle was a civilian that I didn't know.
"We started checking the offices, and all the doors were open except one, and I tried to open it and there was resistance on the other side, and somebody from the inside said "Who is it?". And I said, "Police." They said just a minute, and they started unstacking furniture, they had barricaded themselves in there. Once they opened, there was about a dozen to 15 people came out.
"So we got them all on the elevators and send them down except one man. Came out, he had a pair of white women’s shoes. And they were bloody, and of course later he was identified as Mr. Gabour, and Mr. Gabour said, 'My whole family has been killed up there. Give me a gun, and I'll kill the S.O.B., and he tried to get my gun and of course I wasn't about to give him my gun and we had to kind of restrain him, Jerry Day and I. And we kind of waltzed him over to the elevator, waited for the elevator to come back up. Once it came in, we put him in there. Jerry was restraining him, I pushed one and I send them down.
"Guy with a rifle, I'm going to identify him now, his name was Allen Crum. He said, ‘Where are you going?’ I said, ‘I'm going up there to look for the shooter,’ and he says, 'You're not going by yourself.' He said, 'I'm coming with you. We will do it service style. I'll cover you, you'll cover me.’ I said, ‘Wonderful, come on.’
"I got to the first landing and I could see a little boy. His eyes were bulging out, his tongue was protruding, you could tell that he was dead and he was looking at me, so I ease myself up to him and I looked to his left and there was a dead woman, who happened to be his aunt. And then there was another woman severely wounded and she was drowning in her own blood. I had to grab her, and turn her over to keep her from drowning, and then at the end was another Gabour boy, and he was 18, but he was severely wounded, but he was conscious and he said, 'He’s out there. He’s up there.’
“Allen Crum, looked at me and he said, 'Are we playing for keeps?' And I said, 'You're damn right we are.' I said few other things but anyway, and he says, 'Well, I guess you better deputize me.' I looked at him and I said, 'Consider yourself deputized.’
“But I pushed and I pushed and I pushed and the dolly finally went over backwards, and clanging, making a lot of noise and I waited, but of course, like I said, there was so much gunfire going on. But he didn't hear it, so, I opened the door and it opened to the right. And I couldn’t see him or anybody, so then I walked to the other corner and I looked all the way north to the northeast corner, and I could not see anybody. And it was kind of hairy because every time I looked I didn't know what to expect. Thank the good Lord there was nothing. So I came back, got Crum out, and I said, 'Now I want you to point the rifle over here to the west wall, southwest wall, and if he comes around the corner, shoot him because I am going around to look for him.’ He said all right, so he stayed there. I left, and all this time bullets were cracking over us. You could hear a crack, and a bullet would hit, and dust would come down from the rock and little particles.”
Neal - "We had citizens in Austin who grabbed their deer rifles, who went out there and trained it on the tower, and while they didn't hit the guy, they kept him pinned down."
Artly - "I think most of the people had been shot in the first 10 to 15 minutes."
Neal - "When I first got there, he was leaning over, looking, bingo, fire a shot, find someone else and fire a shot. Nothing bothered him. He did most of his damage in those early moments. But when the citizens and the police -- many officers either went home or came from home with their deer rifles -- and started shooting back at the tower."
Ray - “Before I got to the corner, for some reason, I turned around looked back and there was Houston McCoy with the shotgun. He had come out. He was the tall boy and standing straight up, and I motioned to him get down, get down because I didn't want to shout. I didn't want anybody to hear me, and he didn't get my signals, but a couple of bullets hit above his head and he knew what I was indicating, so he got his head down."
Artly - "Those puffs, those clouds you see are limestone being pulverized by the bullets from below."
Ray - “Now that he was safe, OK, I proceeded on. Unbeknownst to me, that Crum, the civilian, over there he was fiddling around with that rifle, because it wasn't his, and he was trying to make sure that he knew how to fire it. And a round went off, and it hit the wall, and I think that’s what got the sniper to concentrate over there.
"I saw the sniper in a sitting position with his rifle like that, and I had been in the Army, I carried an M1 carbine and I qualified for it, so right away I recognized what he had there. And when I fired my first round, I could tell that I had made contact with him because of the impact. And he went up, and got on his feet, and had that M1 carbine and he was turning to face me, and I saw at least one muffle blasted. Well he fired one round, and I continue advancing towards him at what I call a duck walk because you had to stay down so that you didn’t get hit from the bottom, shooting as I went.
“And I could see that I was making impact because he couldn’t bring that rifle down, and I kept on shooting and hollering at the same time to McCoy to fire with that damn shotgun. I mean, just fire it, fire it. And shooting and emptied my gun. By that time McCoy had shot and spun him around, and he was going down, I had dropped my gun, and I reach back, pull the shotgun from McCoy, and I went and shot him one more time as he was down.
“It was a matter of seconds. It was a matter of seconds because you've got to realize that whenever you get in a gunfight, it’s just split seconds, brrrr, and you've fired all your six rounds. You’re done. And it’s very fast.”
Artly - "I remember looking up at the tower, seeing a white flag and one of the policemen later told me that it was a towel tied onto the end of a rifle barrel."
Ray - “Once he was dead, laying on your feet there, I started waving the shotgun and hollering at people below to stop shooting. I don't even remember if I said, ‘I got him,’ ‘We got him,’ or whatever, but, ‘Stop shooting?’"
Artly - "Once the shooter was killed, all the students with deer rifles were putting those officers in danger."
Ray - “Well the shooting continued, so, I dropped the shotgun because my knees and my legs just kind of deserted me. They were like pure rubber.”
Artly - "Eventually the gunshots died down…”
Neal - "You had the cacophony of the sounds, the gunshots from the ground up, from the tower down, you had the people screaming, shouting, sirens going all the time and then all of a sudden... silence."
Artly - “…and the mall slowly filled."
Neal - "Then after it was over, my goodness, the power of broadcasting really hit home to me at that point. When we broadcast the fact that the sniper is dead, his name is Charles Whitman, he is dead... The amazing sight that occurred at that moment -- hundreds of people walked out onto the South Plaza."
Artly - "Dozens, then hundreds, then thousands... everybody standing around."
Neal - "They just stood and stared, transfixed, just kind of what happened, what just happened? Literally hundreds of people were out there and they were quiet. Nothing, nothing like this had ever occurred. So there was nothing in anyone's makeup to say, 'Oh my gosh. We've got a shooting.'"
Ray - "I asked for permission to call my wife, and they said go ahead, so I called my wife, and I said, 'Dear, I just wanted to tell you that I'm ok.' And she says, 'Why shouldn't you, you were directing traffic.' I said, 'Well I did a little more than that I'll talk to you later.'"
Neal - "We decided to release the names of the people who had been brought into Brackenridge hospital -- the only trauma center at the time. It was a long list of names -- maybe 15 names or something like that -- and they were being read off on the air.”
Artly - "The shooter shot three people I had graduated with, two of which died. Paul Sonntag and Claudia Rutt. Paul was a good friend of mine.
Neal - “I can still hear it ringing in my ear. Joe said, 'OK, that's it.' And then Paul's voice came on the air, quivering, saying, 'Joe... Joe... can you read those names again? Everyone is interested in that list of names. I think you have my grandson on that list.' OK, and he went through and read the list of names, and it was his grandson, his namesake grandson, Paul Bolton Sonntag, who was killed standing with his girlfriend, Claudia Rutt, both of whom had just graduated from Austin High School.”
Artly - "Paul and Claudia were on the drag, shopping for engagement rings. They were going to get married."
Neal - "It was happening here. It was happening in Austin. And never could have been anticipated."
Artly - "The primary emotion is I guess more being dazed or shellshocked to process all that."
Claire - "I thought about the baby.”
Cheryl - "It was hard for a while."
Claire - "It was different back then. I didn't know it was a little boy. I always kind of thought it was a boy, but I didn't know."
Artly - "In 1966, it happened, the shooting happened on a Monday. UT closed on Tuesday to clean up the blood and reopened on Wednesday and life went on. Nobody sat around talking about it."
Claire - "I was in the hospital 7 weeks and then intensive care, a total of 3 months, so that would be 13 weeks altogether."
Artly - "No one sat around and talked about it strangely enough. I guess we’ve learned from that mistake."
Claire - "I think survivor guilt is a huge issue. I don't know exactly what you do about it."
Cheryl - "For a while I felt guilty. I did. I didn't have anything to do with a choice. I was not in control. Why did I live? And not this person and not 15 others, you know? It was an adjustment to live with for a while."
Claire - "Oh and McCoy, I was going to say. I met him in 2008 and the first thing he said to me was, 'I'm so sorry I left you there for so long.' And I'm just going huh? Same thing to Officer Martinez. I'm going, ‘Nobody was up there. No one was willing to go in. He had 700 rounds. He could've stayed there for days. Officer Martinez told me every single night -- he never has nightmares -- but every single night before he falls asleep that there's this thing in him saying, 'Why didn't you pick up Claire?'"
Artly - "I'd never seen all that blood. I had never seen death. It was sort of the loss of my innocence."
Neal - "I wasn't a hero. I wasn't running around in full view."
Ray - “Well, just doing my job.”
Neal - "You just do your job, that's all it was, just kind of doing the job that journalists are supposed to do at times like that."
Ray - “I was a sworn police officer to do my job, and this was my job
Artly - "To me, the heroes that day were Allen Crum and the men who wore the uniform of the Austin Police Department. They're the ones who climbed the tower and put an end to the carnage."
Ray - “There was shooting going on, people were getting hurt, somebody had to get up there and confront him, and neutralize him, and that I felt was my job.”
Claire - "I hope with all my heart that somebody will put that plaque up where it belongs on the campus, possibly where Billy Speed was shot."
Ray - "Well, seeing her and my daughters it was great to see them, that I was still alive because I was thinking about Billy Speed. He had a little baby and his little baby and wife are not going to see him again, so I was thankful by the grace of God, go high, and I thought about him at night, in my prayers."
Artly - "I feel that now that the statue of Jefferson Davis is gone, I feel that it would be appropriate to replace it with a statue of Officer Speed. He gave his life to protect the university community and you can't say that about any other statue on campus."
Cheryl - "Only God knows why things happen, but what it did make me do is it made me determined not to waste my life.”
Ray - "I just wanted to continue living, enjoying life, trying to do the best, better myself, and be a good citizen of the United States."
Cheryl - “So I became the best teacher I could be. And I worked hard at it."
Neal - "That tower is so much a part of Austin and it's symbolic of so much that the University of Texas represents, and it's there and it dominates the immediate campus area. So that kind of keeps it in people's minds."
Artly - "Everybody has bad days. And for most people for your bad days for the anniversary, you can go off by yourself and deal with it and grieve on your own manner. To me, my bad day, August 1 of '66, is brought up and it's on the television and it's on the radio.”
Neal - "Fifty years later this is still a story."
Claire - "I don't know if time heals all wounds.”
Artly - “I'm not going to get away from it. It'll follow me to my grave."