Senator and actor comment on New London Reunion - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Senator and actor comment on New London Reunion

(Source: KLTV) (Source: KLTV)
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

It shocked the nation and world leaders 80 years ago, the New London school explosion, March 18, 1937.

The annual reunion at New London that brings classmates from that era back together was held Saturday dedicated to remembering 'the day a generation
died'.

The story of what happened that day, the tragic loss, and the way East Texans came together, gives profound meaning to the reunion.

They had shed tears many times over their lost classmates. For those who were there that March day in 1937, it will always be part of them.

"The day a generation died. They'll look at the book of memories and say, I know those people. And  it's still alive in them, it hasn't gone away,"
says reunion organizer Miles Toler.

The massive gas explosion tore the school apart killing 298 people.

Senator Brian Hughes assured alumni that the story would never be forgotten.
 
"Finding what to say to families who had been through this was not easy. We gather like this we remember those that we've lost. The way this community
responded. Man, the way they came together and worked even harder and loved each other even more. That’s the great story that comes out of this," Hughes says.

Texas actress Margaret Bowman remembers hearing the news as a girl and hopes the story will become a movie one day.

"My mother and grandmother when they heard it over the radio, they cried for two solid days. Back in 1937, who would have ever thought," she says.

For survivors, the halls of the New London museum still house the memories and voices of their classmates that died.

"It took to the 70's to start talking about it, to put it in front of the people," Toler says.
 
For many, the story is triumph over tragedy.

"The whole world watched when this happened and watched this communities response," says Hughes.

"What makes a Texan. We get up, we pick ourselves up, we rebuild and we go on," Margaret says.

Bowman says a screenplay has already been written about the New London school disaster.
 
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