Story of Loss & Tragedy: Flight 3407 Civic Memorial

Posted at 1:56 PM, Oct 09, 2018
and last updated 2019-01-22 16:29:01-05

On Friday, October 5, 7 Eyewitness News went on the road to Clarence to showcase some of the things that make it such a great place to live, work and play.

While we often highlight fun things happening in the community, we would have been remiss if we didn't pay attention to one event that continues to bring people together for more somber reasons -- the 2009 crash of Flight 3407.

"It's a story of loss for individual families, and a story of tragedy for the community," said Erie County Historian and Clarence Middle School Social Studies Teacher Doug Kohler.

Nine years after the crash the community not only mourns and remembers the dead, it continues to fight for improved flight safety.

"It still affects who we are and interactions and people we see everyday," Kohler said.

The community believes it's important that new generations don't forget what happened or how they can work to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future, so it created a civic memorial at the Clarence Public Library. 

The subtle memorial sits nestled in a corner beyond the bookshelves and the collection of computers.

The details of the crash itself, the lives lost, the clean up process, and the people working for change are all part on the interactive memorial inside the library.

Outside, there's a water feature where people can reflect on what happened. It's surrounded by pavers that are engraved with the names of each of the 50 victims.

The memorial points north toward Long Street, where the plane crashed into Karen and Doug Wielinski's home, killing Doug.

Every aspect of the memorial was carefully thought out to maximize its impact.

"It's a very reflective contemplative place," Kohler said. "It has a lot of significance, a lot of meaning built into the site."

With many stories to share, it's a somber place for people to find solace in the past and hope for the future.

Have a news tip, question or comment?


Take WKBW Everywhere, on all your devices.  Download below!

Phone or Tablet: Apple, Android
Set-top Device: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Alexa

Personalize your news, get the latest 7 First Alert Forecast, and watch 7 Eyewitness News video wherever, whenever.

Learn more here about what 7 Eyewitness News provides on all these devices.