Bell tolls, names read to honor victims of Washington slide

In this March 27, 2014 file photo, four search and rescue workers wade through water covering Washington Highway 530 on the eastern edge of the massive mudslide that struck Oso, Wash. on March 22, 2014, killing 43 people. A year later, although the highway has been rebuilt, reminders of the loss are every where. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool)
In this March 27, 2014 file photo, four search and rescue workers wade through water covering Washington Highway 530 on the eastern edge of the massive mudslide that struck Oso, Wash. on March 22, 2014, killing 43 people. A year later, although the highway has been rebuilt, reminders of the loss are every where. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool)

OSO, Wash. (AP) – A solemn crowd gathered in Oso, Washington, on Sunday to honor 43 people who lost their lives a year ago in the deadliest landslide in U.S. history.

A moment of silence was observed at 10:37 a.m. at the site on Highway 530.

The names of the dead also were read, one by one, each name followed by the tolling of a bell, The Daily Herald newspaper in Everett reported.

The list began with Christina Jefferds and ended with Steve Hadaway, The Seattle Times newspaper said.

Sunday marked one year after a rain-soaked hillside collapsed suddenly on March 22, 2014, sending million tons of sand and soil thundering across a river valley north of Seattle, destroying dozens of homes and entombing 43 people.

Family members, first responders and others in the community and others gathers on the west and east sides of the slide on Sunday morning and converged at a grove of 43 cedar trees planted as a memorial to honor the victims.

“No one ever asked, ‘What about me?'” said Bellevue Fire Department Lt. Richard Burke, who spoke at the ceremony. “That doesn’t happen every day. It was pretty special.”

The landslide closed Highway 530, which connects Oso to Darrington in the east, for months. State officials closed the highway for a few hours on Sunday to remember the victims.

Joel Johnson, chaplain of the Oso Fire Department who led the group in prayer, acknowledged the suffering the slide had brought but he also thanked God for the community’s resilience.

The event at the landslide site was one of several remembrance events planned this weekend.

Other events included open houses as the Oso and Darrington fire stations and a potluck dinner at the Darrington Community Center.

On Saturday morning, dozens of people gathered at the Darrington Library to dedicate a community room to longtime retired librarian Linda McPherson, who died in the landslide.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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