POINT PLEASANT — The bells will toll 46 times in Point Pleasant on the 49th anniversary of the Silver Bridge tragedy which took place Dec. 15, 1967, killing 46 people.
A memorial is planned for 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 15 at 6th Street in Point Pleasant at the memorial which marks where the bridge used to rest. The music will begin around 5:45 p.m.
The Saturday, Dec. 16, 1967 special edition of the Point Pleasant Register, which is housed by Ohio Valley Publishing, reveals a front page that seemed to be unfolding by the minute during a time when getting the news out, wasn’t easy or quick.
The edition recounts eyewitness accounts, including that of Paul Scott, then age 51, of Middleport, Ohio. His account was reported as follows:
“I was in the car. The bridge toppled to one side. We were near the middle of the water going toward Kanauga. I was with J.O. (James) Pullen of Middleport and F.D. (Frederick) Miller of Gallipolis. I don’t know if they made it or not. We work for New York Central. I’m a trainman at Institute, W.Va. The bridge was shaking, once too often. It went to the left, and then to the right, and it never came back, it just kept going. We went down right with the rest of the scrabble. It was a long way. I couldn’t understand why I made it. I didn’t think I could. I thought ‘this is it.’ Then my head popped up (to the surface of the river). I got hold of a barrel but I couldn’t get on top of it. I was hanging on when the boat rescued me. I want to thank them all, especially the group that got us out. I have to get out of the hospital. My daughter (Carol) is getting married on the 30th.”
Both Pullen and Miller, whom Scott was traveling with, were killed in the tragedy.
As previously reported, this year’s remembrance ceremony will include singing by the Point Pleasant Intermediate School Choir, Grace Sydnor of the Gallia Academy High School Madrigals and a performance by the Hannan High School Bell Choir. The names of the victims will be read by Dr. Clyde M. Evans, former Ohio state representative. From the Mason County Courthouse, bells will toll for each of the 46 victims.
Holdyn Keefer, a young man from Mason County who has been battling leukemia, will throw the honorary “switch” on the lights which will decorate the trees around the bridge memorial. A star will also be placed at the site and a wreath.
The ceremony is organized by Kenny Grady of Mason County with assistance from the Mason County Commission and Point Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department.