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Crash families' voices heard in Washington

   WASHINGTON -- The story of Continental Connection Flight 3407 is slowly being transformed from tragedy into history.

   Both the Federal Aviation Administration and Congress are taking actions that boost airline safety in wake of the Feb. 12 accident in Clarence, which claimed 50 lives.

   It isn't always this way when a plane goes down. About a half-dozen similar regional airline crashes have occurred in the last 15 years, and aviation industry observers said only one -- a 1994 American Eagle crash in Roselawn, Ind. -- drew about as much governmental attention as the Clarence crash.

   And much of the credit for that fact goes to the families of the crash's victims, said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., a lead sponsor of a bipartisan FAA reauthorization bill that a key committee passed on Tuesday with several strong safety provisions stemming from the February mishap.

   "I appreciate them being a voice for passengers and passenger safety in this country," DeMint said.

   Think about that the next time you hear someone say that the government is out of touch or that citizens don't have a voice.

   It's enough to make you wonder if the only reason we often don't seem to have a voice is because we just don't bother to say anything.

   -- Jerry Zremski

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Flight 3407
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