The Memorial to UTA Flight 772

From a photo album on


So we sailed away from there, sad at heart,
happy to have avoided being destroyed,
although some dear companions had been killed. – The Odyssey

Who could forget Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.?  It’s stark, simple elegance, partially sunk into the ground, follows Einstein’s advice to simplify everything to the greatest degree possible, but not more so.  Thirty one years after its construction, it still receives three million visitors a year.

And now we have another memorial, equally simple and moving, to the passengers and crew of UTA flight 772, destroyed by a bomb on September 19th, 1989 while flying over a remote region in Niger in the Sahara.  The photos of its construction are remarkable.

The shifting sands of the Sahara will likely soon cover both the monument and those parts of the wreckage still remaining at the site, because that’s what deserts do.  Until then, it’s a beacon to aviators in an otherwise endless sea of sand.

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