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A “service of reflection” was held Sunday evening at the site where an Amtrak train derailed five days earlier, leaving eight people dead and about 200 injured.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and Congressman Bob Brady all commended Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter — who led the ceremony — for his response to in the immediate aftermath and days following the horrific derailment.
"On Tuesday, you were not only Philadelphia's mayor, you were America's mayor, and we thank you," said Foxx.
Foxx said the victims will be honored through new safety measures that will ensure "something like this never happens again." He said Amtrak will implement new technology that sends alerts if trains are going too fast, post new speed limit signs immediately and work on new safety measures in the future.
Amtrak announced Sunday night that full service would resume on their Northeast Corridor Monday morning — the first time since the derailment. "Amtrak staff and crew have been working around the clock to repair the infrastructure necessary to restore service for all the passengers who travel along the Northeast Corridor," Boardman said in a statement.
"At the end of the day, all of us just want to get home," said Foxx at the ceremony. The eight victims "did not make it to their earthly homes on Tuesday night, but they were called home," he said.
Each speaker expressed gratitude to first responders and the people on the train and people who live nearby, who rushed to help the injured amid the chaos.
Nutter said "those of you who ran out of your homes, those of you who gave water, those of you who gave shelter" reminded him of a quote from a missionary, Stephen Grellet: "I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again."
Nutter read the names of the victims who lost their lives in the crash — Rachel Jacobs, Justin Zemser, Jim Gaines, Abid Gilani, Derrick Griffith, Bob Gildersleeve Jr., Laura Finamore and Giuseppe Piras — and a dove was released for each.
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— Elisha Fieldstadt