DES PLAINES, Ill. (AP) — More than 1,000 people were on hand Saturday as a memorial was unveiled near Chicago for the victims of the American Airlines Flight 191 crash, the deadliest airplane disaster not connected to terrorism in U.S. aviation history.
The May 25, 1979, crash of the DC-10 killed all 271 people aboard and two people on the ground.
The memorial in Lake Park in Des Plaines isn’t far from where the aircraft went down shortly after takeoff from O’Hare International Airport. The curved stone wall has all of the victims’ names. It was covered with flowers, cards and framed photos at the dedication ceremony.
A tearful Nancy Howell, whose mother Elaine was on board the flight, traveled from Knoxville, Tenn., for the ceremony.
“When I come here, what I think of is the crash,” Howell told the Chicago Tribune. “Now, I can think of something else.”
Students from the Decatur Classical Academy in Chicago worked for three years to have the memorial made. Kim Jockl, assistant principal of the school, and her sister Melody Smith of Arlington Heights lost their parents in the crash.
On the 25th anniversary of the crash, the sisters organized a memorial gathering at a chapel in O’Hare Airport’s Terminal 2.
State Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston helped raise the $20,000 from American Airlines. The Des Plaines Park District erected the memorial.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)