Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mission and Missile- November 14

Mission San Xavier del Bac is known as "White Dove of the Desert". It is an active Franciscan mission located on the Tohono O'Odham Indian Reservation. I was taken aback by all the religious beauty inside this church. Beautiful murals on the walls and many statues and relics,which were brought over from Spain. It is the original church,built in the late 1700s. Art conservators from the Guggenheim Art Institute and the Vatican have come here in efforts to restore the statues and building. Today Indians were scattered through out the courtyard selling crafts and food. We tried their flat bread with cheese and beans,not bad just full of grease! A roadrunner entertained us with his busy antics. We took quite a few pictures of him in an attempt to catch him when still. Our last stop of the day was the Titan Missile Museum. This is one of 54 that were put on alert in 1963 during the Cold War. We had a guide who took us through the control room and missile site itself,explaining all the safety procedures and codes put in place to fire the missile. I have here a picture of the safe which was to be unlocked if an order would be given to fire the missile. Two keys on it had to be turned and codes reviewed,checked and triple checked in preparation for launching. Three lights on the control panel were labeled site one,two or three- each one representing a certain area of the world. One of them would be designated by our president as the site to be hit by the missile. Hard to believe this system was in place for forty years! And,as our guide explained it,it was a peaceful deterrent to war,worth every penny it cost.

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