OAKLAND, Calif. (CBS SF/AP) — Ceremonies at a California cemetery marked the mass murders and suicides 40 years ago of 900 Americans orchestrated by the Rev. Jim Jones at a jungle settlement in Guyana, South America.
The remains of more than 400 Jonestown victims are buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland.
Jones’ adopted son Jim Jones Jr. and other former Peoples Temple members conducted a service Sunday at granite slabs bearing names of all 918 who died in Guyana on Nov. 18, 1978.
Minister Jynona Norwood, who lost 27 relatives, separately unveiled a portable memorial wall to honor more than 300 children and other victims. She left off the names of Jones and those she says assisted him.
Both memorials list California Congressman Leo Ryan, three newsmen and a church defector killed by temple gunmen at an airstrip.
KPIX 5 spoke with current Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who was traveling with the delegation as an aide.
She was shot five times and left for dead. She dragged herself into the baggage compartment of the plane, where she waited 22 hours for help to arrive.
“I was expecting to die. I said the Act of Contrition,” she said.
Usually, on November 18th, she thanks God that she is still alive and goes to the cemetery to lay flowers on Leo Ryan’s grave.
But Sunday, in front of a full house at the Book Passage in Corte Madera, she opened up about staring death in the eye and making the most of her second chance at life.
She spoke to supplement the release of her memoir Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back, which details her experiences in Guyana, the numerous other hurdles she’s faced and what’s helped her overcome each tragedy.
“I call it the Three F’s: Family, Friends, and Faith. That’s how I’ve gotten through it all,” she said.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the Fillmore community came together Sunday to recognize the Jonestown victims. A small memorial stood at Mini Park, with the hope of soon dedicating a larger tribute to the victims of the massacre 40 years ago.
The community wants to make sure that younger generations never forget the Jonestown massacre.
“You cannot tell the 150 year history of San Francisco without telling the story of Jonestown and Peoples Temple,” said Speier.
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.