(Indian Harbour) A delegation of former Canadian military personnel, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers and first responders gathered on Sunday in Nova Scotia to commemorate the 25e anniversary of the deadly crash of Swissair Flight 111.
Veterans Affairs Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor told attendees she wanted to thank the soldiers, police officers, firefighters and community members who stepped up to help after the accident.
“On the night of September 2, many of you rushed into the darkness without the slightest, slightest hesitation,” said Mr.me Petitpas Taylor at the Peggy’s Cove Swissair Memorial, Indian Harbour, Nova Scotia.
“We express our deep gratitude to you for the way you responded to this Swissair tragedy, and for what you did, in the weeks and months that followed, to support the recovery efforts,” he said. -she said, in French.
The MD-11 airliner plunged into waters near Peggy’s Cove on September 2, 1998, during a flight from New York to Geneva, Switzerland, killing all 229 people on board.
Steven Harris, Assistant Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs, noted during the ceremony that the event was focused on commemoration, remembrance and healing.
“The lives of those who sought to help, to comfort, to give meaning to this tragedy have been forever changed,” he said.
Family members of some of the accident victims also participated in the ceremony.
Lieutenant-Colonel John O’Donnell was a Canadian Armed Forces chaplain who was sent to Nova Scotia 25 years ago to support the military’s recovery effort, dubbed Operation Persistence, but which quickly collapsed. was redeployed to help comfort family members of crash victims. He said he found reminders of resilience and hope during this time.
Relatives wanted to go down the coast of Peggy’s Cove to offer flowers and keepsakes in memory of their loved ones, but were not allowed, he said. Instead, they would approach the shore, one family at a time, and a firefighter would carry their keepsake out to the water.
“I remember being struck by the care and tenderness with which the fireman held the flowers that had been lent to him. He hugged them and walked towards the water’s edge. He stopped for a moment of prayer, threw the flowers into the waves, then took off his helmet and placed it on his chest, Mr. O’Donnell said. Nobody told him to do this, he just did it. The simplest gestures are often the most meaningful. »
Minister Petitpas Taylor led a candlelight tribute to the victims of the disaster at another memorial site Saturday evening.