Image: A video simulation of the crash of Flight 191. Credit: History Channel.
Madhu Krishnamurthy writes in the Chicago Daily Herald that more than 1,000 people are expected to attend the unveiling on Saturday of a memorial in Des Plaines, Ill., to the 273 victims of American Airlines Flight 191, which crashed on May 25, 1979, just after taking off from O’Hare Airport en route to Los Angeles.
The plane carried a number of people headed to a booksellers convention in Los Angeles. And on a personal note, the pilot, Walter Lux, was a family friend who lived on my block in Naperville, Ill.
Photo Gallery: Chicago Tribune Recalls Flight 191 | Worst Air Disaster in American History Claims 273 Lives
And a day after handling Tony Barboza’s profiles of eight shooting victims in the Seal Bach hair salon killings, I find similar stories on the air crash victims, who included Sheldon Wax, managing editor of Playboy magazine; his wife, Judith; and Vicki Haider, administrative director of Playboy Enterprises. There is an art to putting together the profiles of people who have nothing in common except for a tragic death.
When I was a young girl in May of 1979 I went to train in Dallas for American Airlines. It had always been my dream to work for an airline so I went there for training to become a Flight Attendant. I never did graduate because I was too young and didn’t share the confidence that so many others had in that class. I asked to leave. A few days later while shopping at the Fox Valley Marshall Fields store in Aurora, Ill. a news bulletin came over their music station that an American Airlines plane had crashed in Chicago killing everyone on board. My heart sank and to this day I always remember where I was at, even where I was standing when I heard the news. Such a very tragic and sad day. And in an odd way it hit too close to home for me. Recently I’ve been looking back on my life and found myself reading the articles and viewing the You Tube old news reels on this horrific tragedy. Hopefully the families have found peace.