30 Years Ago

Published: 9/1/2016

My father was a pilot. He flew F-8 Crusaders over Vietnam before transitioning into a role as a pilot (making Captain) for Continental Airlines (which sadly is no longer around). He’ll tell you that flying is the safest mode of transportation and that he never had a close call while he was an airline pilot. However, he studied his craft diligently and was always prepared for the chance when things went wrong. Thirty years ago this week something went very wrong in the skies over Cerritos.  A DC-9 airliner and small private plane collided, resulting in the loss of 82 souls from the planes involved and on the ground. This loss was remembered this week by the City of Cerritos and Supervisor Don Knabe, who was mayor at the time. As he’s said many times, there is no training to prepare you for this type of incident. This type of tragedy demonstrates what leaders are made of and, at that time, Mayor Don Knabe, along with his city council colleagues and city staff, stepped up to provide the community with a sense of calm. We remember and thank you all for your service and leadership.

The significance of this event isn’t lost on the son of a pilot who took it for granted that his father would walk through the door at the end of a trip, hat tipped back with his collar and tie undone. I remember watching television with my mother and little brother that day 30 years ago and praying the plane wasn’t a Continental airliner. This wouldn’t be the only time we felt this type of anxiety. Today, technology has made air travel much safer and it’s easy to track a flight from the palm of your hand – yup, there’s an app for that. Then, there were only news reports. And although my father always came home, we always remembered those who did not in our nightly prayers.

I hope you enjoy your long Labor Day weekend and we hope to see you at a Chamber event in the near future.




Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

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