“The site at the cemetery is beautiful, and it’s where the mass grave is, but it doesn’t have the emotional draw like the roadside does. We feel closer to our loved ones at the roadside,” she said.
Severin wrote a book, “In the Wake of the Storm,” which describes the crash and the changes to airline industry policy that families of the Roselawn crash and other aviation disasters successfully pushed for in response to the treatment they received.
Congress passed legislation in 1996 requiring airlines to have a process in place for notifying crash victims’ families and for returning personal items such as luggage and jewelry.
Pat Hansen of Naperville, Ill., whose 48-year-old brother, Frank Sheridan, died in the crash, said she and many other relatives of the crash victims have developed camaraderie over the years from their shared grief and their work lobbying the airline industry.
On Thursday, she’ll visit both the roadside memorial and the Merrillville cemetery. At both sites, she’ll lay flowers for an elderly Wisconsin woman who also lost a loved one on the flight but is now too ill to make the annual journey.
“She’ll call me and say, ‘If I send you money, will you bring some flowers and put them at the cemetery and the crash site? And I do that every single year,” Hansen said.