Remembrances of 1976 tragedy will become less frequent
DRAKE» After Monday night’s ceremony to remember the 144 lost in the 1976 Big Thompson Flood, Barb Anderson, president of the Big Thompson Canyon Flood Memorial Committee, announced that the group would no longer hold a yearly ceremony.
But even without an organized event, the date will not be forgotten.
“We are still going to meet on July 31 at 7 p.m. because I can’t not be here,” Anderson told the crowd.
Joined by the other committee members — Tina Anderson, Marlene Johnson and Peggy Lafferty — Anderson said they will continue to offer refreshments and fellowship each year, and anyone is welcome to attend and share stories, but they would hold an official ceremony only every five years.
The next official ceremony will in 2021, marking the 45th anniversary.
For more than 20 years, Anderson has organized the event that commemorates the 1976 flood that started with heavy rain on July 31, 1976. It caused a massive surge of water to race down the Big Thompson Canyon with little warning, resulting in 144 deaths.
Community members have gathered yearly at the memorial outside the volunteer firehouse to remember those victims.
Five candles are lit for those who were never found: Rochelle Rogers, Teresa Graham, George McCarty, Vernon Oler and Evelyn Kindred.