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Memorial Held For 2001 Queens Plane Crash

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A memorial ceremony was held Wednesday in Queens to mark the seventh anniversary of the crash of American Airlines flight 587.

The Dominican Republic-bound jet crashed in Belle Harbor, Queens, shortly after taking off from John F. Kennedy Airport on November 12, 2001.

The 251 passengers, nine crew members, and five people on the ground were killed.

Federal investigators say the crash was caused by mechanical failure, in the wake of turbulence from another plane.

The ceremony was held at the victims' memorial in Rockaway Park, 15 blocks from the site of the crash.

"You learn how to live with the pain, but you can't forget. Especially when you lose your mother, your best friend," said Anna Espinal, who lost her mother in the crash.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered an address before a moment of silence and the reading of the victims' names.

"The pain of loss has remained with us over the past seven years," said the mayor. "We've also been blessed with many things along the way. Confirmations, graduations, marriages and births."

For some, hearing the names this year was not as devastating.

"Well, it's not like the other years," said 17-year-old Laura Hernandez, who lost her mother in the crash. "The other years were more depressing. I guess now I'm starting to let go, little by little."

A service for the victims was also held in the Dominican Republic, where family members are working to build another memorial.

"The artist who designed this memorial in New York, he's the one who designed the memorial for Santo Domingo," said Belkis Lora of the Committee in Memory of Flight 187. "The design has been done and now we are working with the architect and we expect to have the final project by December."

Many are hoping that memorial will be completed by next year so the family members who cannot come to the United States can have a space of their own to reflect and grieve.

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