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'Families Commemorate swissair 111 victims'
Families commemorate Swissair 111 victims News Staff

The mood was sombre at a memorial ceremony in Nova Scotia today, marking the passing of five years since Swissair Flight 111 crashed into the ocean off Peggy's Cove, killing all 229 on board.

Some families of the victims gathered at a monument in Bayswater, outside Halifax, for an interfaith service marking the grim anniversary.

Padre John O'Donnell began the service by urging those assembled to remember the love they felt for those who were lost.

"Today we recall that love with deep affection in this act of remembrance," O'Donnell said.

"Today we seek from our faith in God the consolation of God's eternal love... that continues to shine through despite the darkness... that threatened to overwhelm us."

A member of the Jewish community spoke to the crowd, and acknowledged that many touched by the tragedy have gone back to their lives.

"It's appropriate we should do so," he said. "And yet, we do so only by bringing the memory of this tragedy with us."

And that carries a responsibility.

"What we bring from this tragedy is that they've become sort of a lien on our life... and it's put upon us to be able to fulfill this, to accomplish the things they didn't during their lifetime."

Next, the families plan to visit the crash site 11 kilometres offshore.

Retired Rector Rick Walsh was in Peggy's Cove when the tragedy struck. Already at the Halifax memorial site early Tuesday, he told CTV's Canada AM the day has him filled with mixed emotions.

"Not all the remembrances are bad, there are a lot of good things came out of it," Walsh said. "People discovered they had strengths they didn't know they had... the community banded together."

Officials say this could be the last year memorial ceremonies are organized, since the final report into the crash has been released.

CTV reporter Jon Vennavally-Rao is in Bayswater, and says the official organizers of the day's event have decided this is going to be the last year.

"The number of family members who've been coming back has been dwindling over the years," Vennavally-Rao told CTV Newsnet.

"The first year they had a memorial here they had 900 people show up."

Today, it will probably somewhere around 100 or less."

Walsh said he is slowly getting ready to move on.

"People are still hurting. My wife and I have a box of stuff we acquired during that time and we can't look at it yet, it's just too many memories."

"We hope, this year, to dig it out and look at it," Walsh said.

In its report, the Transportation Safety Board determined that wiring for an on-board entertainment system had been improperly installed along with highly flammable insulation. The combination fed a fire that brought the plane down.

The MD-11 airliner was on en route from New York to Geneva when it crashed.
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