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July 19, 2008

Hyatt victims deserve memorial

As we pass the 27th anniversary of the tragic Hyatt Regency walkway collapse, I feel it is fitting to write regarding the proposed Skywalk Memorial. My father and 11-year-old baby sister (Gerald and Pamela Coffey) were killed at the Hyatt, and I have been haunted by this tragedy every day of my life.

I feel that not having a memorial is doing a huge disservice to the Hyatt victims, the first responders, the doctors and nurses, the police and the family members. It saddens me to know there is no place I can go to and reflect and grieve over my family members.

This memorial is long overdue and, quite frankly, I think it’s a disgrace that there isn’t one. The city has created memorials for other tragedies. The firefighters memorial, to name one, is a great thing and shows the heart the city has. So I don’t understand why the city doesn’t feel there is a need for a memorial to the victims.

The Hyatt tragedy is just as senseless as the one that took the lives of the firefighters, and the victims have the right to the same type of honor to their memories as the firefighters to theirs.

Peggy (Coffey) Olson
Austin, Minn.



renfro and jack, I find your comments pathetic. This collapse is so significant that it is discussed and analysed in university engineering ethics subjects both in the USA and internationally; it is of global significance as a reminder to what can occur if an engineer fails to take due care when designing a structure.
Your comments suggest to me that you were one of the careless engineers who flippantly designed and built these skywalks.
The community should be reminded as to how lives can be lost when engineers fail in their duty of care to that community. A memorial is an appropriate reminder to the engineering and wider community so that accidents like this don't happen again.
If the skywalk had fallen on your head then you would not be in a position to make any comment. It is cowardly and un-American to attack the dead as you have done, for they cannot defend themselves.


Peggy (Coffey) Olson ---- There is no “long overdue” memorial for victims of the Hyatt Regency Skywalk collapse in Kansas City. Firefighters and others who serve the community in dangerous situations are memorialized because their occupational risks are ongoing and accepted. ---Your loved ones were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
You complain there is "no place I can go to and reflect and grieve over my family members.” Unless visiting, your letter indicates you now live in Minnesota. You are seeking help for a condition that is personal and complex! A memorial in KC to resolve your problem is not the answer, nor should it be expected!


Ms Olson, without belittling your loss, what makes your loved ones more deserving of a special memorial than mine?

IMO both my grandfather and father did things impressive enough as to be hard, if not impossible, to live up to. Neither got anything other than a plaque in the ground (makes it easier to mow over). The family got nothing but a properly folded American Flag to commemorate their existance.

Neither died in a news worthy fashion. Does that make their lives less deserving of commeration than your loved ones?

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