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TWA Flight 800: 20th Anniversary

MONTOURSVILLE — It’s been 20 years since TWA Flight 800 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 230 people on board. Today brings back those te...

MONTOURSVILLE -- It's been 20 years since TWA Flight 800 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 230 people on board. Today brings back those terrible memories for the people of Montoursville because 21 people from the community were on that flight.

Sunday marked the 20th anniversary the TWA Flight 800 crash. The plane went down in the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff from JFK Airport in New York. 21 people in our area were killed in the crash.

In memory of the 21 students and chaperones from Montoursville Area High School's French Club, who were on TWA Flight 800, people are doing 21 random acts of kindness. It's the fourth year for the event. Some people say it's a way to make a tough day bearable and bring a smile to others.

In this story

10-year-old twin sisters Kara and Kilee Betts of Montoursville wanted to make sure people outside had a cold drink on this hot day.

"We're just handing out waters for Flight 800," Kilee said.

The sisters are two of many people in Montoursville who are doing 21 random acts of kindness.

Twenty years ago, TWA Flight 800 was leaving JFK Airport en route to Paris. Twelve minutes after takeoff, a fuel take exploded inside the plane, killing all 230 people on board.

"We've had people cry. We've had people ask stories. It's really just about love and just bringing them together and reminding them that those angels did exist," Jennifer Stanchak said.

The Betts sisters learned about the plane crash from their mom.

"She came up with the idea and then my dad in the car thought about just coming over here and just sitting out and handing them out to people as they walk by," Kilee said.

The people who got the water were grateful.

"That was pretty cool. That brought a smile to my face, and I didn't even realize it was the 20th anniversary this year. That's been a long time. That was pretty cool. that made me smile," Rob Lynn said.

Even though people are doing these 21 random acts of kindness, they still remember the real reason they're doing it.

"When you see your high school on CNN, you don't truly understand what's going on. I sat there and it took me probably a good two hours to process what happened," Stanchak said.

Flowers and ribbons decorate the Flight 800 memorial, as people stopped by throughout the day to reflect.

"Flight 800 was a sad time, but also at the same time, what people do for other people to remember Flight 800 is nice," Kara said.

In addition to decorations at the memorial site, people made sure to decorate the trees on Broad Street in Montoursville, too. The people we spoke with say they plan to continue doing random acts of kindness on this date every year to help keep the victims' memories alive.