Flight Of Sorrow

July 17, 1997

Sorrow over the TWA Flight 800 catastrophe has continued over the course of the year. It started among the Coast Guard crews and fishermen who realized early in a ghastly search of the ocean off East Moriches that all was lost. That search was followed by another - for somewhere to place the blame.

In the weeks and months that followed, conspiracy theories flew about, although the measured words of Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Transportation Safety Board personnel suggested the unbelievable: that 230 lives had been lost to an undetected flaw. A conclusion that some insidious enemy was responsible for the explosion would have been more palatable. Random culpability is hard to comprehend, much less accept.

Extraordinary efforts to determine a cause were still continuing this week, testimony to a society that won't take no answer for an answer. An unmarked plane with empty seats re-enacted the flight of the doomed craft - a ghostly reminder.

We should be reminded, and proud of, the way the extended community, Coast Guard, police, religious leaders, and just plain folks, rose to a terrible occasion. They brought dignity to that short, tragic flight.

Woven through the year since the Flight 800 disaster has been the unimaginable grief of the families, including several in our own community. They have not been the same since the night of July 17, one year ago today.