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Flight 232 Remembered After 30 Years

Post Date:07/11/2019 4:20 PM

Nearly three decades ago, the Sioux City community responded in many ways to tragedy. On July 19, 1989 United Airlines Flight 232 carried 296 people traveling from Denver to Chicago when hydraulic failure struck. Hundreds of people selflessly responded to aid victims of a disabled DC-10 that crashed while attempting an emergency landing at Sioux Gateway Airport. 112 people lost their lives while 184 people survived, many who walked away with little injury.

On the 30th anniversary of a day that was both horrific and miraculous, the public is invited to reflect on the events that occurred and remember those who were lost.

Three places pay tribute to the United Airlines Flight 232 crash in Sioux City, including the Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation, Sioux City Public Museum and Flight 232 Memorial along the riverfront.

Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation, 2600 Expedition Court, will host an Open House on Friday, July 19, 2019 with free admission from 10:00am – 7:00pm. In the evening, Museum staff will connect with a private group gathering in Denver, including flight attendant and original crew member, Susan White, via Facebook Live and Skype. The Museum is home to an exhibit dedicated to the Flight 232 crash and response along with the point of impact on Runway 22 just outside the building. The Flight 232 exhibit shows the flight path and scale model of the DC10, a timeline of significant events, a wall of images of July 19, as well as Captain Al Haynes’ seat, a Dave Nixon narrated short video, and the names of all of those lost.  In addition, the exhibit documents the emergency management drill conducted two years prior to the crash and the Hollywood movie interpretation, “1000 Heroes”, starring Charlton Heston as Captain Haynes. Hours will be 10:00am-7:00pm on Friday.  Regular hours and schedule at the Museum are 10:00am-4:00pm Monday - Saturday, 12:00pm-4:00pm Sunday, Closed Wednesday.

Sioux City Public Museum, 607 4th Street, preserves the memories of the circumstances of Flight 232 through several educational experiences.  A compelling video captures the moment of the crash and the heroic actions of hundreds of volunteers. This stirring video is projected on a multiscreen surface and is an award-winning presentation. Artifacts of the event are also displayed below the screens. Upon entering the Museum visitors will see a slate memorial that features a guardsman carrying a young child with the quote “God saved the Child, I just carried him.” This memorial was commissioned by the Sioux City Jaycees and installed at the Air Guard 185th headquarters where it stood for over 20 years. The leadership of the 185th decided to display it where more people could enjoy it and the Museum has proudly displayed it for 9 years. The sculpture was designed and crafted by the late Keith Hesse from Smithland, Iowa. The Public Museum is free and open to the public from 10:00am – 5:00pm Tuesday - Friday and 1:00pm – 5:00pm on Sunday.        

The Flight 232 Memorial, Chris Larsen Park along the riverfront, is made up of a series of large stones along a path leading to a lower plaza. Each of the stones has a cast brass plaque with a moving quote about the people who aided in the effort or words spoken by rescuers themselves. In the plaza sits a bronze memorial statue designed from a photograph taken of Lt. Colonel Dennis Nielsen carrying 3-year-old passenger Spencer Bailey to safety following the crash. The statue brings to life the iconic photo that has become the symbol of the rescue effort. 

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