Allegheny Airlines Flight 853 memorial

9 September 1969

London, IN

A note to family and friends of those killed in the tragedy:

I know that it's difficult for you to understand why someone like me would dredge all this stuff up after so many years, after it's all been put back where it "belongs". It seems to be the universal question every one of you has had when I've been lucky enough to have contacted you.

Let me assure you, I'm NOT making any money off this venture. In fact, to date it's cost me many dozens of hours, and several hundred dollars, just to get what I have. I'm not a lawyer, I'm not an author, and I'm really trying hard not to be the creator of something morbid at your expense.

I'm a pilot of small airplanes, and I have a family. I've looked at this tragedy from every direction it can be looked at, and I just don't see why it happened. There's no reason in all the logical stuff we're taught as pilots why two planes could possibly be in the same spot at the same time, even if we tried to get them to be! In most accidents, you can point to something and say, "that's what caused it". You really can't in this one, and yet, 83 people died. We'll never know why, but that doesn't bring those people back.

I'm not trying to do or be or say or write anything that I don't feel needs to be done. I do a lot of things in my life that other people look at and say, "why?". If I do something, it's because it feels right for me to do it, and the act of my wanting to do it is enough reason for me to believe it has a place. If this sounds kind of zen, then maybe it is. Obsession? I don't know. I just know that my purpose started out to be gathering facts in this accident, but slowly and matter-of-factly turned toward the realization that there were people killed in that soybean field that that farmer plants crops in every year. If it had been me, I'd want someone to remember. The "why" belongs to the philosophers and psychiatrists.

If you support me in this, please contribute something to the memory of the one you knew. If you are neutral, please accept that I needed to do this. If you are injured by it, please accept my apologies. Let me know, and I'll do my best to respect your wishes.

Above all, my sincere condolences for your loss.

Dan McGlaun