Later today, Jim and I will attend a Memorial Day Tribute at the Thousand Trails Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania where we are staying. Our friend, Bob Gambol, lost his brother to PTSD complications and he asked us to remember, and we do. It put me in mind of my parents brothers, all nine served in the military. My husband, my sister, her husband, and my oldest brother served in the military. I have two nieces who are military.
One of my uncles suffered shell shock, now known as PTSD, during Korea and never lived a normal life after that. During his troubles, he lived with us for a short time, thinking a change of scene might help him. It didn’t. We have much to remember. But, this year, Memorial Day fell on May 27th which is the one year anniversary of our accident in the Canyon De Chelly. Jim and I are still having physical problems from that accident. And that date is unforgettable and pops up at both of us as a traumatic time in our lives. Here, then, are pictures of the accident. We discussed yesterday, how grateful we are to be alive and went to the park store for a bottle of champagne for a quiet private toast today.
This is what the vehicle looked like with two rows of bench seats welded to the flat bed. People are loading and the Driver is checking out his vehicle
We wait for everyone to settle, Don Cassidy, Dr. Richard Crowe and his wife Debbie, Margaret and Anita behind them.
Jim and I are right behind the cab in the first seat. On our side, is the only couple to refuse medical treatment, Jean and Chris. They are from Michigan. Red haired Debra, moving toward us, and her husband Richard, sat in the vacant chair behind us that is empty in the picture. Bill Repshur and Sophie are settling in at the back.
Mrs. Crowe, on the ground after helping drag her husband out, and Anita, just climbing out with help. Mrs. Crowe, as far as I know, was first out and I followed her. Three men driving by, were our first helpers, you can see them near Mrs. Crowe and helping Anita.
The driver, Davidson Deschennes, the uninjured couple, Jean and Chris, and two of the helpers dig with their hands and little sticks found on the ground and help people out on the other side of the truck.
Dr. Crowe is moved away from the wreck to allow room to remove others buried in the dirt. His wife tries to comfort him. He died about two hours later.
After Dr. Crowe was moved, they were able to get Debra out.
A bunch of people from a second tour vehicle came to our rescue, and one of them helped Jim and led him away to rest under a tree.
Debra’s husband, Richard, in the striped shirt and Bill’s wife, Sophie are removed.
Davidson, the driver, called several times on the radio demanding quick help. In the canyon, there is no such thing as quick help. He was injured as well. Don Cassiday jumped and landed on the road above before the truck overturned. He too was injured. Rescuers are just pulling Bill Repshur out.
Margaret was the last person dug out of the wreck.
It took three hours before the first helicopter with medical kits and more water arrived.
Richard and his wife Debbie were considered the most seriously injured and were loaded onto stretchers and removed first. Followed by Sophie and Bill and the rest of us.
It was a horrendous accident and hopefully our last. I’m so grateful to travel with Jim because he is such a safe and careful driver. He avoids the high-speed inter-states whenever possible. But none of us can predict our fate.
Thanks Jim & Mary for your blogs…it has indeed been a difficult year for our family. Like you, May 27th will hold special meaning for us, too.
Carolyn (Crowe) Ibele