ROSELAWN | In what has become an annual ritual, family members of those who perished in American Eagle Flight 4184 will gather at 3:30 p.m Thursday to mark the 19th anniversary of the Oct. 31 crash.
Jennifer Stansberry Miller will travel from Indianapolis to attend the informal roadside service as she has done nearly every year since her brother Brad Stansberry died.
"I was in college and 21 when it happened," said Miller, who is now a social worker and mother. She said she couldn't have imagined then the anniversary would be observed nearly two decades later.
Neither can Julie Gunter and her mother, Helen Mudd, who at the time were emergency medical technicians. They remember the day and have donated their time and talents to help others in their remembrances since.
Gunter said they knew the sadness of lives lost from their professional lives and wanted to memorialize the tragedy in the crosses they erected and which still stand as a stark reminder of that Halloween 19 years ago.
The Families of 4184, which advocated for what became the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996, plan a permanent memorial at the site where 68 people plummeted to their deaths through freezing rain and into a Newton County soybean field.
They envision a roadside memorial garden. Fundraising efforts to bring that to fruition are underway.
They said they have also been approached to consider hosting a public forum on the act and its creation and purpose as well as on the Flight 4184 investigation. A former National Transportation Safety Board investigator has offered to speak.
Miller said the Families of 4184 want to know if its something of interest to the Northwest Indiana community and if an area organization would be interested in hosting it.
Miller said more about the act can be learned at http://flight4184.weebly.com/adfaa-of-1996.html.
Those interested in seeing the design for the roadside memorial garden or to donate can go online to www.flight4184.weebly.com