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A beachfront tribute to Flight 800 victims

Barbara Verhaeghe, of Goldsboro, N.C., the wife of

Barbara Verhaeghe, of Goldsboro, N.C., the wife of pilot Rick Lee Verhaeghe, visits the TWA Flight 800 Memorial at Smith Point Park in Mastic on the 10th anniversary of the 1996 plane crash. Her husband, Rick Lee Verhaeghe, was riding as a relief pilot. (July 16, 2006) Photo Credit: Newsday / David L. Pokress

The Paris-bound TWA Flight 800 had just taken off from Kennedy Airport when it exploded at 8:31 p.m. July 16, 1996 and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean south of Moriches Inlet, killing 230 people. In the hours, days and months afterward friends and families of the victims were drawn to the shores of Smith Point County Park in Mastic. Today, the TWA Flight 800 International Memorial commemorates that horrific night. But through the years, friends and family found their own ways to mourn.

The TWA Flight 800 Memorial at Smith Point
Photo Credit: Handout

The TWA Flight 800 Memorial at Smith Point Park, in Mastic. (Undated)

John Seaman, chairman of the Families of TWA
Photo Credit: Newsday / Daniel Goodrich

John Seaman, chairman of the Families of TWA Flight 800 Association, stands near the memorial to the 230 lives lost in the fiery crash, including a niece of Seaman. (July 16, 2008)

Barbara Verhaeghe, of Goldsboro, N.C., the wife of
Photo Credit: Newsday / David L. Pokress

Barbara Verhaeghe, of Goldsboro, N.C., the wife of pilot Rick Lee Verhaeghe, visits the TWA Flight 800 Memorial at Smith Point Park in Mastic on the 10th anniversary of the 1996 plane crash. Her husband, Rick Lee Verhaeghe, was riding as a relief pilot. (July 16, 2006)

TWA Flight 800 International Memorial at Smith Point
Photo Credit: Handout

TWA Flight 800 International Memorial at Smith Point County Park in Mastic. (Undated)

Loved ones are remembered at the TWA
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Loved ones are remembered at the TWA FLight 800 International Memorial at Smith Point Park on the 11th anniversary of the crash that claimed the lives of 230. (July 17, 2007)

TWA Flight 800 International Memorial at Smith Point
Photo Credit: Handout

TWA Flight 800 International Memorial at Smith Point County Park in Mastic. (Undated)

TWA Flight 800 International Memorial at Smith Point
Photo Credit: Handout

TWA Flight 800 International Memorial at Smith Point County Park in Mastic. (Undated)

A visitor to the TWA Flight 800 Memorial
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

A visitor to the TWA Flight 800 Memorial in Smith Point Park is reflected in a monument on the 10th anniversary of the 1996 crash. (July 17, 2006)

The polished stone of the TWA Flight 800
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The polished stone of the TWA Flight 800 International Memorial mirrors the visitors in Smith Point Park in Mastic on the 10th anniversary of the jet crash. (July 2006)

Flags fly at half staff in the heavy
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Flags fly at half staff in the heavy ocean fog surrounding the TWA Flight 800 International Memorial at the Smith Point Park on this the 9 year anniversary of the jet crash. (July 2005)

Friends and family remember loved ones lost in
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Friends and family remember loved ones lost in the crash of TWA Flight 800, at the shore of Smith Point Park on 10th anniversary of the crash that claimed 230 lives. (July 17, 2006)

At Smith Point County Park the TWA Flight
Photo Credit: Newsday / Daniel Goodrich

At Smith Point County Park the TWA Flight 800 International Memorial is close to the ocean. (April 16, 2003)

Bunny Weber-Obermeyer, a former TWA flight attendant, remembers
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Bunny Weber-Obermeyer, a former TWA flight attendant, remembers friends lost in the crash of TWA Flight 800 at the crash memorial in Smith Point County Park. (July 17, 2003)

Damien Catry of Lille, France, holds his daughter,
Photo Credit: Newsday / Kathy Kmonicek

Damien Catry of Lille, France, holds his daughter, Coline, 1, as he looks out into the Atlantic Ocean where TWA Flight 800 crashed in fiery pieces in 1996. Catry lost his brother-in-law, Michel Jean Armand Breistroff. (July 17, 2001)

Tom Gallagher comes out of the water at
Photo Credit: Newsday / John Keating

Tom Gallagher comes out of the water at Smith Point County Park after completing a swim to raise money for a TWA Flight 800 International Memorial. (July 15, 2000)

A flower tribute is thrown to vicitms of
Photo Credit: Newsday / David L. Pokress

A flower tribute is thrown to vicitms of the crash of TWA Flight 800 during a memorial service at Smith Point County Park. The park is a memorial site because it is close to the crash site. (July 17, 2000)

Family members and friends of victims of the
Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Family members and friends of victims of the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 hold hands after lighting 230 candles in luminarias along the beach of Smith Point County Park. (July 17, 2000)

Two years after the crash of TWA Flight
Photo Credit: Newsday / Moises Saman

Two years after the crash of TWA Flight 800, friends and family made a pilgrimage to Smith Point County Park for a memorial. It eventually became a monument. (July 17, 1998)

Mourners throw flowers during a memorial service at
Photo Credit: Newsday / Moises Saman

Mourners throw flowers during a memorial service at Smith Point Park marking the 2-year anniversary of the crash of TWA Flight 800.

For the individual, the waves and the tranquil
Photo Credit: Newsday / John Keating

For the individual, the waves and the tranquil beauty of the beach at Smith Point County Park offer solace. (July 17, 1997)

the memorial began within a month of the
Photo Credit: John Paraskevas

the memorial began within a month of the crash of TWA Flight 800 in waters off Smith Point County Park. (Aug. 1, 1996)

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