Today is the 10th anniversary of the second deadliest U.S. aviation disaster, the crash of Flight 587 in Belle Harbor, NY.
I will never forget that day, just two months after 9/11, I heard a horrible noise, my house shook and the electricity went out. My mind raced wondering what had happened -- could a power cable have exploded? A few minutes later, my father called me from Florida, he had seen on the local news that a plane crashed a short distance from my home! Not really comprehending the magnitude of what he was saying, I got in my car with my daughter to check on her friend who lived closer to the crash site and we could not get near it. I turned on the radio thinking I would hear that a propeller plane had gone down, only to learn that it was an American Airlines Airbus. My daughter and I parked the car and walked to the scene in this very small close knit community we live in. For hours, we did not know the fate of her friend or his family, we only knew that everyone on the plane had perished and that more than likely so did people on the ground. We watched the scene in total disbelief -- it looked like a scene from a disaster movie, this could not be happening!
But it was happening, five people on the ground died as well. My daughter's friend and his family were safe. Every year since, there is a ceremony here to remember the victims. A permanent memorial has been erected and homes that were destroyed have been rebuilt.
I will never forget that day and send my deepest condolences out to the surviving family members and friends of those who were lost on this tragic day.