CLARENCE CENTER (WKBW) It was an emotional day for the those struck by the tragedy of Flight 3407, as hundreds went back to the scene of the crash where a memorial in honor of the victims was officially dedicated.
"We hope it will be a place where you can come to pray, to think, to cry, to smile, but most of all, to remember," Mike Powers, President of "Remember Flight 3407" said.
Families of Flight 3407, local leaders, law enforcement, and community members all stood together on Long Street in Clarence Center Saturday afternoon, donning shirts, pins, and ribbons to honor loved ones lost as a new memorial was officially dedicated in their honor.
Songs were sung, prayers said, and the names of all 51 victims were read.
"Not only to be on the spot where they drew their last breath, but to be with the families of everybody that was on that plane, there is just a bond that will never go away," Jennifer West, who lost her husband in the crash, said.
A simple memorial now resides at 6038 Long Street. It is made up of a walkway with 51 paving stones, one for each life that was lost, and a small bench next to a stone engraved with each name.
"It's supposed to be private for the families to come and reflect and pray and remember. This will be the most raucous thing we do here for sure," John Kausner, who lost his daughter in the crash, said.
But many recognized a different way 3407 families have memorialized their loved ones; in stronger flight safety regulations fought for and now passed.
"Out of the darkness of this hallowed site on that awful, awful, snowy, freezing night has amazingly come good," Senator Charles Schumer said.
"You don't know how many planes are going to fly over here and make it safely to the Buffalo Niagara airport because of your efforts. We'll never know that number, but I know that number exists," Congresswoman Kathy Hochul added.
"Each and every one of the victims of Flight 3407 looks down on this day with great pride for the work that you have done over the past two and a half years," Congressman Brian Higgins said.