Marc di Suvero’s “Keepers of the Fire” on the St. Joseph River in South Bend, Indiana, was installed in 1980. The ‘River Lights’ were added in 2015, which make our iconic visits to our beloved hometown even more memorable and our story more colorful.
The “Keepers of the Fire” is a landmark in South Bend. To us, the bright orange metal sculpture is a symbol of reunion, return, and remembrance. We make our trek to visit this site each year to celebrate our Anniversary. We met the year it was erected and, during our years in high school, we shared a dance under the watchful eye of the ‘Keepers’. To our delight, we met here again when we married twenty-three years later.
The sculpture was created in honor of the Potawatomi Indians who migrated to the area from Michigan. The name Potawatomi means “Keepers of the Fire”, and they were one of The Council of Three Fires. It is a meaningful connection. Imagine the Potawatomi sitting around the fire while they made plans for the future. Here agreements were made to come back and stoke the fire, and keep it alive. It is a great tribute to our personal story to come back each year and celebrate our life and love.
Our journey began on one side of the river, and we attended Prom in the Century Center. It all came full circle when we married under a little gazebo at Seitz Park, located directly across the river. Our covenant brings us back each year.
Interactive “Light Forest” by Rob Shakespeare
“The Keepers of the Fire” is a mirror that reflects everything from the public’s understanding of abstract art to how one person calls something art while someone else says it’s junk. “That doesn’t mean that people who don’t like di Suvero are wrong, because they’re operating according to their own feeling…”
There is tremendous significance in the art that stood before us as youth and the journey that brings us back to these sacred grounds. It was something we didn’t quite understand and yet, today we celebrate all that it represents.
I’ll never know what brought me here
As if somebody led my hand
It seems I hardly had to steer
My course was planned
with love and a forever lovelight,