Sunday marked 15 years since the TWA Flight 800 disaster and some of the victims' relatives and friends were planning to attend a memorial in Suffolk County that night.
On July 17, 1996, 230 people were killed when a Paris-bound 747 airliner exploded off Long Island shortly after leaving John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The incident set off a massive FBI investigation into whether a bomb or a missile took down the plane.
Investigators later determined the crash most likely resulted from an electrical spark in an empty fuel tank.
Family members were expected to gather Sunday night at Smith Point County Park in Shirley, N.Y. to honor the victims.
Frank Lombardi, a liaison for the TWA Flight 800 Family Association, said it is important to remember the tragedy every year.
"It affected thousands and thousands of people in the local community, and it is probably the most significant air crash prior to 9/11 because of the investigation, because of the recovery efforts, and it's one of those significant and major events that has happened in the Long Island community," Lombardi said.
The incident led one woman to form a group that matches mourning family members from other plane crashes to help with grief counseling.
Among those helped were more than 500 relatives of September 11th victims.