Pain still fresh for Graniteville victim's family

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

January 6, 2007

GRANITEVILLE, S.C.---Tonight, a community remembers the train wreck and chlorine spill that's had a lasting impact on the small town of Graniteville.

On the two year anniversary, residents and victims showed they have not forgotten. The Graniteville community came together for two memorial ceremonies to remember the tragedy and the nine people who lost their lives.

While it's been 24 months since the accident, one victim's family says the pain has not gone away.

"Two years have passed, and I know I should be over this, but I'm not."

Donna Ansley is still mourning the loss the man who she considered her son: John Henry Laird.

Laird was working in Woodlawn Mill when he was overcome by the chlorine gas. He was 25 years old.

"I know a part of me should be grateful that, you know, there were five thousand other people that were around that day," Ansley said. "And yeah, I lost Henry. Nine people died. I guess that the nine angels God needed and left five thousand more here."

"Call me greedy, but I didn't want to let him go," Ansley went on. "I know God probably needed another angel, but I want him home. I want him back."

But Henry won't be coming home, so Ansley fills the void with memories...like the last time she saw him alive

"We had just had a wonderful day with Henry. I even have a video tape that shows five seconds of him and he's just waving at the camera and not saying a word. It's almost like he knew and he was telling me bye."

"These people are gone," Ansley said. "But there are still people that need help. If anything, I just hope we are not forgotten."

With the fallen still close to their hearts, it's safe to say no one here will ever forget.

The investigation found crews forgot to put a track switch back into place, causing the crash.

People in the town should start seeing some money soon from the class action settlement from Norfolk Southern.


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