75th anniversary memorial service held at site of Mount Tom B-17 crash | News
HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM)– An emotional day for many as Saturday marks 75 years since the B-17 crash on Mount Tom in Holyoke which killed 25 servicemen.
Many people gathered Saturday morning at the crash site on Mount Tom to commemorate this tragedy.
On July 9th, 1946 around 10:20 p.m., a devastating incident took place. While circling the area preparing to land home after serving in World War II, the aircraft approached the Holyoke Mountain and without warning, slammed into part of the rock at Mount Tom about 900 feet high.
Now 75 years later, dozens gathered at the site of the crash Saturday morning to remember those lives lost.
“When you’re on your way home, in many respects, that’s when you let your guard down. You’re happy, you’re thinking of your family. You’re thinking of your loved ones,” said Senator John Velis.
Western Mass News spoke with a woman whose father was on the plane.
“Unfortunately, I never got to know him other than through stories,” said Helen Swahn.
Swahn said when the crash happened, her brother was only a year old and her mother was pregnant with her. She said it wasn’t until years later that she learned about what happened.
“We found out because she got a piece of mail and a flag in the mail and we wondered why and then she finally told us about that,” said Swahn.
A monument with the names of the servicemen who were killed inscribed on it was placed at the site 50 years later.
“It is beautiful and I’m excited,” said Swahn.
Swahn, 75 years later, now getting a chance to see the monument for the very first time.
“I thought 75th anniversary would be an excellent first time to come,” she said.
Those who gathered at the memorial Saturday morning said being there to commemorate those tragically lost in the crash was an honor.