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In Their Own Words

June 04, 1962

Editorial Following Orly Plane Crash

The day after a plane crash in France claimed the lives of 115 Georgians, Atlanta Constitution editor Ralph McGill wrote the following:

“… Atlanta and Georgia were going to church when the news first began to come by press wires and trans-Atlantic telephone calls. It was a beautiful morning. Some of the humid heat had fled before scattered showers in the night and a breeze which blew in the first hours after dawn. The sky was new-washed blue. The towering clouds moved slowly and serenely across it… . Then came the news. It was at first a trickle. Then it was a deluge. At many churches prayers were held. They were, in some instances, the first news the congregations had of the disaster. At a dozen or more churches relatives and close friends were assisted, weeping, from the sanctuary to be taken home to comfort or be comforted… . It is an awesome thing to be confronted with the ancient truth that in the midst of life we are in death. It is a difficult enough fact to accept when it is an isolated, personal one. When it occurs in the mass, as in a battle, the loss of a Titanic at sea, the wrenching crash of steel trains, or the explosive, flame-wrapped smash of an aircraft, the shock is one which makes a community grow silent and put its mind to the business of trying to understand the swift transition of more than 100 men, women, and children from life to death… .”

Source: Atlanta Constitution, June 4, 1962.