Siouxland Remembers United Airlines Flight 232 Crash, Sioux City

25 Jul

This past weekend Sioux City, Iowa, celebrated an anniversary. Not especially a happy one, but one of survival, one remembrance, and one of a community coming together to help those in dire need. It was the 25th anniversary of United Airlines Flight 232 which crash landed in Sioux City, July 19, 1989, due to an historic engine failure never before occurring. An anniversary of 112 who did not survive, and a 186 who did survive. Of the entire Siouxland community, not just Sioux City, that responded in a crisis and through that response helped save many lives. The 25th anniversary occurred over three days, the first being a community discussion about what took place with Capt. Al Haynes and flight attendant Jan Brown, both crew members, talking about what happened that day along with others, including first responders. The following day was a remembrance of the 112 who did not survive, with survivor Jerry Schemmel and again, Capt. Al Haynes talking what occurred. The third day was an outdoor service, again remembering those who did not survive but also thanking the Lord for watching over those who did. With a little searching online, information about the crash, as well as current reports are easily available for a fuller look at what occurred.

I was not living in the Siouxland area at the time, but working for a  newspaper in Louisiana. And I don’t really remember hearing about the crash, embarrassingly too focused on my job at the time that it didn’t register. But I do remember a friend I worked with talking about the crash. Listening to the stories this past weekend, how it affected so many people and the outpouring of support and help from small communities in the Midwest restores one faith in people helping one another. Something sorely missing in Washington and many state legislatures these days. But this weekend’s celebration again showed the caring nature of people and the strong pull of memories such an event has on individuals makes a lasting impression. To learn so much good came out of such a horrific event in heartening, but doesn’t displace the heartache felt by so many.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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