Survivors, Family Remember AA Flight 1420 Five Years Later - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Little Rock -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Survivors, Family Remember AA Flight 1420 Five Years Later

June 1, 2004 -- Posted at 4:23 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK -- It was five years ago today that American Airlines Flight 1420 crashed while landing at the Little Rock National Airport.  Ten passengers and a pilot died.

Tuesday morning, survivors and family members of those who died attended the dedication of a memorial.

Arneata Cooper lost her sister in the crash.  She said that Monday's dedication was an emotional event for her and her family.  

"I guess just each year that we get through the anniversary then you just become a little more comfortable with it and be able to move on and live your live without quite as much sorrow," said Cooper.

Emogene Coffman lost her daughter in crash also.  She said, "It's been a very hard five years."

Survivors and the families of those who died in the crash gathered Monday at a new memorial at the Aerospace Education Center across from the Little Rock National Airport.

"Iit's an opportunity for us to thank and show the world that everyday people become heroes in tragic times. No loss of life should ever be forgotten and we are always going to be around and it's a permanence. We've been trying to do for five years," said survivor Dennis McCarty.

The memorial features pictures of those who died in the crash, a visual reminder of bravery of those on board.  Survivors of the accident say they're grateful for the memorial. They say it's just one more way to bring together the family that's grown out of this tragedy.

"I definitely feel higher powers were taking care of me. Some people ask me 'did your life flash before your eyes?' and the answer is no, bit I did ask myself who would be my children's father?" said McCarty.

"My sister Judy Thacker was one of the victims in the crash," said Cooper, "She was a wonderful person, very vivacious person, very active in everything that she did and loved everything she did. She loved life, and people, family. It was just hard to describe her."

For some today was a way to deal with the events, for others it was closure.

"Today is just a time to remember her and those who died in the crash," said Cooper.

"It's an opportunity to meet with all my friends and family and a chance to turn a page in five years, said McCarty, "It's heartbreak and hard times."

The memorial is not yet finished and it's cost is estimated to be over $30,000 dollars.

Contributions are still being accepted and can be sent to the following address:

1420 Memorial Committee, c/o Randy Hill

310 Clay Street

Arkadelphia, AR 71923

or you can call (870) 230-8500

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