For the city of Midland, shock is starting to wear off and devastation is settling in. It was supposed to be a celebration to thank American heroes. People were waving flags and cheering on the veterans as they passed by. However, in the blink of an eye, this joyous occasion, turned into tragedy.
The sights and sounds in the moments after the crash are one's Pam Shoemaker can't get out of her mind. "Unfortunately I saw 2 deceased bodies and injured people were laying everywhere," Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker and her Wounded Warrior husband, were sitting on the first float. Now that the shock is beginning to wear off, she now feels lucky to be alive. "I thought a few seconds earlier, it could have been us, and a few seconds later, they could have made it," Shoemaker said.
However, for Midland's mayor, Wes Perry, the feeling of disbelief is still there. "Waking up this morning I felt like it was a bad dream. I didn't believe that it happened," Perry said.
He says, the moments leading up to the accident were picture perfect. "The emotional swing from this indescribable joyful moment to the horror is really indescribable," Perry said.
Denise Garza and Robert and Melissa Volker, know loss first hand. Both families lost their sons in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yesterday, they were leading the parade. "For them to come all the way here and for this to happen, it's just awful," Volker said.
Garza told us, the bravery that was shown in the moments after impact was nothing short of miraculous. "I realized later how high the trailer was. The soldier's were jumping off like angels, they looked like they had wings," Garza said.
Now, as this city attempts to heal, Mayor Perry says the only thing they can do, is lean on each other. "That's what we're all about is to heal each other, help each other."
Anyone wishing to donate to those injured and to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragic accident can send donations to Show of Support c/o Western National Bank, 509 W. Wall St., Midland, TX 79701.
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