On the 25th anniversary of the Flight 255 crash, Detroiters and loved ones of the 156 individuals who died will gather to mark the occasion at a memorial service honoring the victims.
Northwest Flight 255, bound for Arizona, went down after takeoff from the Detroit Metro Airport on August 16, 1987. According to WXYZ, the plane stalled and hit a light pole on the runway. The crash killed two motorists and everyone onboard except 4-year-old Cecelia Cichan, who shied away from the media for most of her life but tells her story in the upcoming film "Sole Survivor," which examines the experience of crash survivors.
"I think about the accident everyday," Cichan said in an interview shown in the above video.
Families and friends have come forward over the years to remember the people they lost or give their support to those who did suffer losses, connecting online. In an virtual guestbook for the flight memorial, Karen Gates of Allegan, Mich., wrote:
My Grandma and Grandpa died on this day, 25 years ago. They were 2 of many that did. I miss them each and every day - they were very special. Grampa T and Grama Nel were everything to me as a child! I very much wish everyone touched by that devastating day and today, loving memories of those lost and pray that this day you find yourselves able to hold your head high with those fond memories. Yes, I'm crying as I write this, but I'm so proud to have had my Grampa T and Grama Nel in my life. I love you so very much and miss you terribly every day of my life.
On Twitter, user @debraweite remembered her father:
On Brighton Patch, Bruce Schneider shared his experience responding to the crash site in '87, when he was a sergeant for the Wayne County Sheriff's Department.
"That was probably the most horrendous thing I've ever seen," Schneider told Patch. "Even the guys working with me who were Vietnam veterans and a lot of military veterans couldn't believe the devastation."
In the article, Schneider describes the moment they found 4-year-old Cichan and the difficulty of searching for survivors as they waded through foam that was used instead of water for aircraft fire.
While Schneider tries to stay out the past, telling Patch he has tried to move on and won't be attending memorial services, others gather yearly to remember. The support group also helped get the 1996 Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act passed by Congress, according to the Detroit Free Press. That legislation is now responsible for directing financial and medical aid to victims after a crash occurs.
To mark the 25th anniversary, a memorial service will be held Thursday evening at the site of at I-94 and Middlebelt Road in Romulus, where a marker honoring the victims was erected. Rev. James Wieging, who was at the site comforting families 25 years ago, will recite the names of the victims at 8:46 p.m., the moment the plane went down.