Memorial honors 16 service members killed in plane crash a year ago

ITTA BENA, Miss. —Hundreds gathered as a  memorial honoring the fallen sixteen service members who died in a plane crash a year ago in Mississippi was unveiled Saturday morning.

A U.S. Marine Corps plane crashed into a Mississippi field killing sixteen people on board, fifteen U. S. Marines and one U.S. Navy sailor.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant spoke about that tragic day and how this ceremony brings some sort of closure to loved ones of the fallen.

"The gold start families who lost loved ones here on that hot July day needed closure. They needed this remembrance of what the love and the loss meant not only to them but to the nation," Bryant said.

Marines unveiled the memorial, which shows the plane surrounded by the engraved names of the fallen.

A day of celebration but the accident shook the country after the plane broke into pieces and came down on a soybean farm in Itta Bena, Mississippi.

The New York-based crew was onboard a military transport when the accident happened. Investigators still don't know what caused the plane to crash.

Governor Bryant says he remembers that day like it was yesterday.

"It was important to determine what caused the crash and so the after effects that took place then were the true testament to the community, food, water, encouragement came pouring in from all over the Mississippi Delta," Bryant said.

"This memorial is something that generations to come and remember those who were lost here in the Mississippi Delta that belong to the greatest fighting force in the world," Bryant said.

After the ceremony, about 30 marines set off on a 900-mile relay to the marine corps special operations command in North Carolina.