'Show of Support Hero Plaza' dedicated in Midland

'Show of Support Hero Plaza' dedicated in Midland

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - It was a special moment in Midland.

"Show of Support's Heroes Plaza" was dedicated to honor the 4 men killed and 13 others injured in a tragic train crash on Nov. 15, 2012.

The Hunt for Heroes parade was traveling on Garfield St. and attempted to cross the train tracks.

The last float didn't make it across before being struck by a train.

Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter recalls that day.

He says, "One of the saddest days of my life.  I got alerted to it and I just couldn't believe it, that something like that would happen right there. I arrived on the scene. There were people everywhere, screaming, hollering'. And all the chaos that went with it was absolutely terrible. It took me back to when I was in Vietnam when we had bodies lying everywhere and the yelling and hollering, it was extremely sad."

During Wednesday's memorial dedication, Terry Johnson, president and founder of the group "Show of Support," wore a shirt with a special meaning to him.

He says, "This was the shirt that I was wearing that night. I never wore black, I always wore tan, just because that was a hunting color, that particular day. I had picked this one out to wear. And to see the pictures that were taken that night, later, I hung this shirt outside because I didn't want to see it anymore."

But he's not letting that stop him from closing this chapter of his life.

Johnson says, "I knew I would wear it the day we completed our memorial, at whatever time we did. So, this morning when I pulled it out, it was an emotional moment to pull it out and put it on. It's not something I looked forward to doing. I won't do it again. I'm done with it now. Again, it's a chapter I hope to close, to start closing."

This memorial is a way for all to heal

"This memorial is a, has been a 5-year endeavor. Fifth-year since the train accident happened. So, the meaning of today is kind of putting to rest a promise I made 5 years ago to construct something and memorialize these folks, that we would never forget," says Johnson, "It's an overwhelming day for me. It's not a day I've been looking forward to, it's really not. But a day I have to go through, but I'm glad it's here, and I'm glad we've done it. We'll never bring closure to what happened, but it's just another chapter to put behind us."

This is a way for a community to move forward, together.

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