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Speeches

Remarks at the Comair 5191 Permanent Memorial Dedication, Lexington, KY
Deborah A. P. Hersman
Comair 5191 Permanent Memorial Dedication, Lexington, KY
8/27/2011

Thank you, Lois, for inviting me to join the families and the community here today. It is an honor and privilege to be with you at this dedication. You are an amazing group of people and are fortunate to be a part of such a supportive and caring community. My in-laws, who are one of the great blessings in my life, are from Lexington and many are UK alum, so this is a special place to me.

You all know, that at the NTSB, our responsibility is to investigate accidents, determine what happened, and make recommendations to help prevent future crashes.

Our investigation into Comair 5191 led to ten recommendations to the FAA and one to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

This accident is also one reason why runway safety is on the NTSB's Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements. Also on the Most Wanted List is "Pilot and Air Traffic Controller Professionalism," which was lacking here in Lexington five years ago.

The FAA has moved forward on five of the recommendations, just last month they required that large airports enhance markings on taxiways and at runway entrances. Aviation is safer because of what happened here five years ago.

I know through my conversations with some here today that this memorial is not just about what was lost on that August morning, but it is about how much those forty-nine family members and friends memorialized here today gave to you ... and to the world.

I am sure that you often hear a song that affects you. A good songwriter can touch many hearts and can help us describe how we feel.

Today, I will call on Paul Simon to help me express my feelings to so many wonderful people here in the presence of this beautiful and graceful memorial. It's from his song "A Bridge Over Troubled Water:"

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine

See how they shine. Indeed all forty-nine. All special. All loved. Always remembered.

Thank you so much for inviting me to join you today.