ROMULUS (WWJ) – The families of the victims of Flight 255 gathered in Romulus for a memorial on Thursday, now 25 years since the plane crashed upon takeoff onto I-94 near Middlebelt, killing 156 people.
Joan Pontante of New York lost her much younger brother, Bill, along his wife and their three children.
“I was a hairdresser at the time and I cried four years straight, in my shop in front of people, and I’d just say, ‘Ignore me, ignore me.’” Pontante told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Sandra McNeil.
Then, something happened.
“Four years ago, almost to the day, I can tell ya, he came to me in a dream — just like you, I could touch him. And he said he was fine, everything was fine and, like that, I stopped crying every day,” Pontante said.
She said she still cries from time to time and talking to other family members has helped her cope, along with recently meeting the plane’s sole survivor, Cecilia Sheehan.
“I went to a meeting in New York and she was there and I was like in shock … I started crying,” said Pontante. “And I was touching her, and it was like she’s part of the puzzle, ya know? There’s so many pieces that were missing and she’s part of the puzzle and I got to meet her.”
Pontante said she comes to Romulus each year because it makes her feel close to her lost relatives. The families will hold a moment of silence and read off the victims’ names.