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July 19 ceremony to mark 50th anniversary of Piedmont Flight 22 crash

To mark the 50th anniversary of the crash of Piedmont Flight 22, the Henderson County Heritage Museum and the Henderson County Rescue Squad will have a ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 19 in the plaza of the Historic Courthouse on Main Street. The public is invited to the free event.

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Speakers will honor the 82 lives lost and the emergency response from Henderson County and Western North Carolina. Paul Houle, author of “The Crash of Piedmont Airlines Flight 22,” will speak about the crash and the improvements made in airline safety as a result. Other speakers are Carolyn Justus, chair, Henderson County Heritage Museum; the Rev. Roy Perry, pastor of Refuge Baptist Church; Terry Robinson, board member, Henderson County Heritage Museum; Mark Warwick, general manager, WTZQ, and Capt. Mark Shepherd, Henderson County Rescue Squad.

A display of historic photos, video accounts from eyewitnesses and a piece of fused metal from the crash will be set up in the courthouse lobby.

The Hendersonville City Council has proclaimed July 17 as “Flight 22 - Day of Remembrance” and is encouraging residents in all municipalities and the county to fly flags at half-staff from July 17 through sunset July 19 “in honor and remembrance of those lives lost” in the tragedy and expressing “our deep appreciation to every person who assisted in the aftermath of this disastrous event.”

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners has on its July 19 meeting agenda a resolution to commemorate the crash by honoring "the dead, as well as those who responded to help in whatever way they could, including emergency responders, the Rescue Squad, law enforcement, the National Guard, paramedics, doctors, nurses, volunteer fire fighters, scouts, and the community at large."