Happy Spring to our loved ones.

Happy Spring to our loved ones.

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In Memory . . .

To the memory of those aboard Northwest Orient Flight 705,

and your departure from us 51 years ago today. . .

To their descendents, and friends who still remember . . .

We raise a toast. And are so grateful for your time here with us. 

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JFK: November 22, 1963

Friday, November 22, 2013. Another Fifty Year Anniversary.

50 years ago today it was also a Friday. I was in the second grade at St. Benedict’s in Seattle. I remember sitting in my desk when the intercom crackled to life and suddenly the voice of Mr. Adamson came on. I remember thinking it was strange that he, the one male teacher in the school, was speaking, not Sister Cecelia who was the principal of the school and always made such proclamations. “Attention please,” he said. “I have an announcement to make. President Kennedy has been assassinated in Dallas, Texas.” I remember the gasps, the shock in the room. I remember kids asking what “that word” meant. I remember the view out the windows from the school’s second floor, how grey and  dismal it looked. John Kennedy and his family were idolized by many, including me. I think it was because of his youth, his exuberance, his beautiful wife, Jacqueline, their young children. The fact that they were Catholic, and so were we. There were just these ties that bound.

We were dismissed early from school; everything stopped, was cancelled, including my Brownie troop meeting scheduled for after-school. I remember walking home in the damp, chilly, bleak November afternoon. I remember going in the house and seeing my mother sitting in front of the T. V., something she never did in the middle of the day: for the next four days, that black and white screen would be on all the time, a rarity in our house. I remember watching the funeral, the black and white procession down wide streets lined with people, the horses, the soldiers; the continual drumming sound stays with me even now. The young widow. Her young children. It was this sad tragedy of such immense proportions, that much was clear. For me though, it was a visceral connection to my dad’s death just 9 months earlier. And, being the same age as Caroline Kennedy, I remember thinking I should write her a letter to let her know that I knew how she felt.

I consumed books on the topic for years. Read all there was to read on that day in Dallas, the Kennedy family; I followed the lives of Caroline and John as they grew. Five years later, as the Vietnam War roiled on, Robert Kennedy was gunned down in L. A., just months after Martin Luther King had been in Memphis. The shootings vividly revived the feelings of 1963, the uncertainty.  There was no stability in my country. The nation was devouring itself.

In December 1977 I visited Washington D. C. for the first time, a place I had always wanted to see. On a cold winter afternoon, we walked from the Washington Mall across the Memorial Bridge and climbed the hill to that eternal flame flickering on a snowy hillside. After paying respects in this almost mythical figure from childhood I remember looking west across the Potomac to the city that looked black and white in winter light and snowy outlines.

For the second time this year, it is hard to believe fifty years has gone by.

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Lessons Learned: Conclusion

From the Flight 705 “Lessons Learned” report: click on image for better view.

HeilAcknowledgement

 

 

 

 

705 “Lessons Learned” website: http://lessonslearned.faa.gov/ll_main.cfm?TabID=1&LLID=66

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“Lessons Learned”

One of the most frequent questions that have come into the 705 blog since it began in 2011  has been, “Why did it happen?” For some who lost people in this accident, they were very young when it happened and the information on the crash was never discussed or passed down by those who knew–for a variety of reasons. For others–their family never understood the cause at all. Now, a half century later, thanks to the Internet, descendants of those lost on 705 can go online to find answers to very basic questions. Some have made their way to this blog; now there is another online resource that can fully tell the story.

This week a full, and contemporary, explanation of 705′s story went live thanks to the “Lessons Learned” program initiated by the Safety Program Manager at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Transport Airplane Directorate. This program is dedicated to ensuring that “the loss of critical knowledge” that comes from airplane accident investigations, no matter when they happened, is stopped and reversed.

Thanks to one of my family members, Flight 705′s story was brought to the attention of the Lessons Learned team in 2011. That November, the team decided that revisiting the 1963 crash of Northwest Orient Flight 705 was warranted. The team completed their work this spring and, after final review of the materials by aviation and engineer experts, they posted their report online this week.

Special thanks to all who made this report possible and to the due diligence of the Lessons Learned team. Here’s to their findings being widely disseminated and making the skies safer for the traveling public. It is a fitting tribute to those who were on board that day.

705 “Lessons Learned” website: http://lessonslearned.faa.gov/ll_main.cfm?TabID=1&LLID=66

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June 2013

Rolling on into summer. We just marked Dad’s birthday this past June 6. He would have been 90 years old. That day he boarded 705 he was 39.

Received a notice today on the blog that Ebay was selling photos of Flight 705′s accident online. Sure enough. Graphic images of the crash site, as well as the victims, and, sadly, those who lost loved ones that day as they received the news while waiting at Chicago’s airport. It seemed unconscionable that these relics of the accident should be for sale. After contacting the company selling them, [a firm that does business digitizing newspaper photo archives and placing all the photos for sale on Ebay], they graciously agreed to remove the crash site photos from the website. Suggested to them that they send the photos to the Northwest Orient Archive at the Minnesota State Historical Society.

In the course of the day, discovered this poignant article by another person affected by Flight 705′s loss: here’s to the memory of her grandmother

http://airplanereading.org/story/119/i-wish-this-were-fiction

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Everglades National Park Press Release, February 12, 2013

With special thanks to Everglades N. P. Public Affairs Officer Mary Plumb.

http://www.nps.gov/ever/parknews/50-years-ago-today-remembering-northwest-orient-flight-705.htm

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20130212_EvergladesNatPkPressRelease

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