MONTOURSVILLE–Michelle Heim and her daughter paid a visit to Montoursville Memorial Gardens, where 21 trees and an angel are a constant reminder of the tragedy that hit this community 18 years ago.
Sixteen students and five chaperones were on TWA Flight 800 when it crashed and exploded over the Atlantic Ocean. Everyone on the plane died.
“Being that it’s a small town, everybody knew everybody. Whether it be close, whether it be acquaintances. It was a big deal,” Heim said.
Many people in Montoursville do not like to talk about that day, saying the memories are still too fresh.
“It was definitely, it was a tragedy,” Patricia Kepner said.
And on this sad day for the people of Montoursville, there was another plane crash, this one all the way around the world. Many of the people of Montoursville say it brings back a lot of hurtful feelings.
“My heart goes out to them. You never know how it’s going to impact your life until you’re actually in that situation and you can definitely feel for others that go through that,” Heim said.
“Why? Why is it going on? Is it just accidents or are we not that safe that somebody can actually do it again,” Kepner asked.
The investigation into the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet saddens a lot of people in Montoursville who say they are still mourning their own community members, especially on this day. Lou Hunsinger Junior called it an unhappy coincidence.
“I hope it doesn’t bring too many people bad thoughts about that day because it’s an extremely painful day for people in Montoursville, the people who knew those victims and the people who still mourn them to this day,” Hunsinger said.
As for the 18th anniversary of the crash and explosion of TWA Flight 800, many people here in Montoursville put a positive spin on it. People all over this community vowed to perform 21 random acts of kindness today in honor of the 21 people who lost their lives.