The Silent Witness Memorial at Gander

A visit to Gander would not feel right for aviation enthusiasts without taking time to see the Silent Witness Memorial, the outstanding monument commemorating the 256 people who lost their lives in the 12 December 1985 crash of an Arrow Air DC-8. Just after we had visited the North Atlantic Aviation Museum, we had time to take a taxi to quickly view the memorial in the fading light of day. Tour buses are not able to easily access the site to view the monument, located at the end of a rural road that descends through a forest into the site featuring a poignant sculpture and plaque overlooking Gander Lake.

Larry Milberry, who described a visit to the memorial in Volume 2 of Air Transport in Canada (pages 994-995), noted recently that it really was an emotional experience. He recalled slogging alone through chest-deep snow to get there. For my wife Angie and I, the approaching darkness seemed to add a melancholy note to our visit. It definitely was moving.

A few visitors were just leaving. Red, white and blue flowers and flags of the United States had been placed at the foot of a bronze plaque with gold lettering mounted on a granite stone dedicated to all who perished. The sculpture features an American soldier standing atop a massive rock holding the hands of a civilian boy and girl. Each child holds an olive branch indicative of the peacekeeping mission of the 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles" on the Sinai Peninsula. The trio look to the future as they are surrounded by the hills and trees of the crash site.

It was unfortunate that we had to rush our visit but we were appreciative of having the opportunity to view this unforgettable memorial.

--- Report and photos by Gord McNulty

The Silent Witness Memorial Gander Nfld 545

The Silent Witness Memorial at Gander, Nfld., Aug. 23, 2017.

names of 248 passengers and eight crew members at The Silent Witness Memorial 545

The names of 248 passengers and eight crew members who perished are inscribed at The Silent Witness Memorial.

plaque at Silent Witness Memorial 2

A plaque describing The Silent Witness Memorial at Gander.

plaque at Silent Witness Memorial

A summary of the Arrow Air Crash is outlined on another plaque at The Silent Witness Memorial.