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Allegheny Airlines Flight 853 memorial

9 September 1969

London, IN

It was a very nice day today. Not as many people were there as I'd hoped, but as one lady put it: "Those who are meant to be here are here, and those that cannot be here are here with us in spirit. We feel them, and they are part of this." One of the group was a very spiritual person, and she felt a great overwhelming sense of calm coming from the field, an appreciation of the remembrance of everyone who was there.

The list of passenger and crew names was read, and a moment of silence was observed at 3:30. Prayers were given, and stories of the departed were shared by all. The Indianapolis Fire Department provided refreshments and several temporary shelters were erected against the hot sun. The corn was very tall in the fields.

On a personal note, I'm glad to report that I had the chance on this occasion to meet all three of the children of Capt. Elrod, who had come in from points far and near. I was very glad that they were there, and that I got to meet and talk with them. I could elaborate, but I think it's quite enough just to leave it at that.

Many people - family members of the victims - e-mailed me to express that they were sorry they wouldn't be able to attend, and I did note each one of them in an attempt to try and make a silent personal mention for each one of them at the field. So, to all of you, even though you weren't there personally, I can assure you that if your departed family members gave any ear to what I told them, they knew that they hadn't been forgotten.

A record was made of this event by the people most responsible for having organized it (I just showed up!); at this site you can read more about the day, and see some pictures of the service.