OKEMOS, Mich. — Saturday, May 25 marks the 40th anniversary of the American Airlines Flight 191 crash in Chicago that killed more than 250 people.
The crash is considered the deadliest commercial aircraft accident in U.S. history.
Margaret Stacks of Okemos was 26-years-old when the flight crashed. Her brother David said he doesn't want his sister's memory along with the memory of all of the other victims to be forgotten, keeping a picture of his older sister Margaret close.
"This is a picture that I keep close to bed," David said. "I wake up every morning and I see that. I've always just kind of loved that picture.
Margaret, or as her close friends and family called her "Peggy" would be 66-years-old today.
"Peggy was kind of the light of the family," David said. "Just bubbly, smart, really active politically. You know, astute individual."
Peggy boarded the American Airlines flight 191 with four others who worked in East Lansing, 40 years ago on May 25, 1979.
"They were leaving that day from Chicago to fly to Los Angeles for the National Book Buyers Convention," David said.
Shortly after take-off the plane crashed and killed 273 people. Investigators found the left engine separated from a wing during take-off and blamed maintenance that damaged the structure that holds the engine from the wing.
David was 22 a the time of his sister's death.
"That accident changed the family completely," David said. "It's really just shocking when something like that happens."
After serving in the Navy, David went on to become a commercial pilot himself and has been one for the last 30 years.
"The one thing that probably would've made my sister more upset than anything else was if because of what happened to her is that I changed my goals in life," David said.
David tells Peggy's story not just to keep her memory alive, but also the memory of every soul who was onboard that day.
"My philosophy is if people are remembered then they're really never gone," David said.
The crash of American Airlines flight 191 did help to change the industry's rules and regulations because it took a long time to find out who was on the plane after the crash.
The FAA mandated a list of people's names and seat numbers technology training systems and improvements also help flag problems before accidents occur.
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