On this rain-swept Sunday afternoon, about 30 people gathered to formally dedicate a memorial to the 53 people who died in 1947 when Eastern Airlines Flight 605 plummeted into a Cecil County woods. The crowd, assembled on a Principio Road hillside near Jackson Park Road, included the son of a passenger, a sailor who rushed to the debris field, three Havre de Grace Police Department officers, and Port Deposit Mayor Wayne Tome.
Barry Rosengarten of Perth Amboy, NJ, whose father was on the aircraft, made a few remarks. “I so much appreciate your passionate, sensitive, and caring expression that will allow generations to follow the history and magnitude of that horrific and fateful night of Memorial Day 1974.” Describing his first visit to the isolated spot, which took place a few years ago after he visited the historical society, he said: “The evening air was crisp and starlight. The night air was filled with a mellow earth and forest perfume. I stood next to my car breathing deeply and feeling the moment almost as if I had been there.” Barry thanked those who arranged for the memorial and helped to bring him to “this moment and to closure.”
William Dennie of Frederick was a young Navy recruit at Bainbridge Naval Training Center on Memorial Day 1947. Presenting a proclamation from Governor Martin O’Malley, William recalled being bused to the site so the hundreds of sailors could carefully comb through the woods and thick brush. Erika Quesenbery provided the historical background and read the names of the victims, while Father Abrahams offered a prayer.
As fire companies from throughout Western Cecil rushed toward horrific disaster in 1947, Chief Walker and two other officers of the Havre de Grace Police Department were the first to reach the tangled, blazing wreckage. On this Sunday afternoon, over 60 years later, Chief Walter and two other uniformed command officers attended the memorial service to help remember the victims.
Mrs. Jeanette Nesbit Hillyer and the Stewart Company arranged for the dedication and the monument. Thank you Mrs. Hillyer and Stewart Company for assuring that the fading memory of this event will not be forgotten in Cecil County.