American Eagle Flights 3378 & 3379 Memorial
The dedication of the Flights 3378 and 3379 Memorial culminated a six-year effort led by the Foundation and a Memorial Committee comprised of people directly involved with both accidents.
Rich and Marie Anderson’s daughter Lauren survived the Flight 3379 accident. She was rescued by volunteer Morrisville Fire Department Captain David Ferrell. The Andersons kept in touch with David through the years and all felt that the accident should be memorialized. Jeff Josefson, who lost his mother Pauline C. Josefson on Flight 3379, also put forward the idea of a memorial.
Their dream began slowly morphing into reality around 2010. By then, Rich and Marie had worked with the Foundation for many years and David, a long-time area resident, had learned about a new park being planned by the Town of Cary. Discussions became meetings with the interested parties, which in turn led to plans for a Flight 3379 Memorial.
When the plans were announced, Captain Warren “Dee” Sherrow suggested that the Memorial include Flight 3378 as well. As a pilot for the same company at the time, a member of the investigation team, and a personal friend of Flight 3378’s captain, the accident had affected Dee deeply. His suggestion led to expanding the Memorial to also honor those lost on Flight 3378.
The Memorial could not have been built without outstanding support from the Town of Cary and the amazing generosity from the many individuals and organizations that contributed their time, money, services, and materials. A sincere and heartfelt thank you goes to everyone who helped in any way to create the Memorial.
We have learned through the years that survivors’ and families’ journeys are never easy, but sharing that journey with others who understand can help make it easier to bear. Indeed, one of the most powerful aspects of the Memorial project has been its remarkable reach across time and distance. Countless lives converged at those two terrible moments in 1988 and 1994, but then, as naturally happens, the paths of most of the people involved drifted apart again as the years passed. The Memorial project reconnected many and brought others into the fold who had never had any acknowledgement of their losses. The Memorial’s purpose is to help bring people together and to foster hope and healing, and its ability to do exactly that became evident even before the first concrete was poured.
On May 14, 2016, some 300 people came together on a sunny Saturday morning to witness the dedication of the American Eagle Flights 3378 and 3379 Memorial. The site was Carpenter Park in Cary, NC, and among the attendees were a Flight 3379 survivor, many families and friends of those aboard both flights, members of the community, and staff from both the Town of Cary and the contractors who constructed the park and Memorial. The Cary and Morrisville Fire Departments contributed a beautiful American flag display along with an Honor Guard and pipe and drum corps.
The Memorial is in a beautiful, tranquil setting in a quiet corner of Carpenter Park. Each Memorial Stone lists the names of those lost, and the Flight 3379 wall lists survivors’ names on its reverse. Charlotte Adams’ lovely violin rendition of Ashokan Farewell was a fitting backdrop for the remembrances. A bell was tolled as Lauren Anderson, Flight 3379 survivor, called the names of those lost on that flight; Captain Dee Sherrow then recited the name of each person who perished on Flight 3378. Family members and friends came forward as each name was spoken to lay flowers and mementos on an empty seat, each of which symbolized one of 27 cherished souls. Lauren also recited the Flight 3379 survivors’ names in a tribute to their courage and perseverance.
We could not reach all of the families of those lost, and some of those contacted were unable to attend. In those cases, first responders who were at the scene of one of the accidents, along with employees of American Airlines and American Eagle, volunteered to perform the remembrances as noted in the list following. Each felt privileged to have such a special opportunity, and this approach ensured that each of those lost could be appropriately honored. It also illustrated the remarkable circle of care and compassion that includes everyone touched by these accidents.
American Eagle Flight 3378
February 19, 1988
- Captain Walter R. Cole
- First Officer Kathleen P. Digan
- Glenn Bogitsh
- Libby Bogitsh
- Terry H. Bower
- Marcia B. Ferris
- Michael E. Grindle
- Henry A. Lewis
- John V. Oliver
- Richard W. Ross
- Christopher Bage Wells
- Roger I. Wilcox
American Eagle Flight 3379
December 13, 1994
- Captain Michael P. Hillis
- First Officer Matthew I. Sailor
- Dennis Allain
- William Gibson
- Scott A. Johnson
- Pauline C. Josefson
- Jonathan B. Kast
- Bryan V. Kerchal
- Keith J. Korhorn
- David M. Parker, Jr.
- William Peters
- Kelly Ryan-Ciulla
- Salvatore “Sam” J. Stellato
- Douglas T. Suckow
- Katanisha L. Turner
- Lauren S. Anderson
- John Ciulla, Jr.
- Ronald R. Lewis
- Richard Mann
- Donald Merkel
We saluted the bravery and dedication of responders from various agencies and organizations by calling the names of each entity and inviting any member present to stand and be recognized. The Fire Department Honor Guard then led a procession to the Memorial itself, where three clergy members led the group in prayer.
Reverend Lourduraj Alapaty, from St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church, began with a general blessing, after which Pastor Josh Franklin of the Good Hope Baptist Church blessed the Flight 3378 Memorial stone and Pastor Ervin E. Milton of the Union Chapel Church of Christ blessed the Flight 3379 Memorial stone.
After the blessings, all who had laid flowers in remembrance were called to the center of the Memorial and the group simultaneously released Monarch butterflies representing one of the 27 souls lost. The pipe and drum corps concluded the ceremony by playing Amazing Grace while leading a procession back to the tent and parking area.
It was a long time coming, 28 years, but at the same time, we could celebrate today; we could celebrate life, and not mourn.
– Virginia Ross, Wife of Flight 3378 Passenger Richard W. Ross