One by one, their names were read: Jeanine Cawley, Andrew Clements, Jerry Gillion, Patricia Gillion, Margaret Green ...
With each name, a bell tolled, sometimes bringing tears from the victims' families, survivors and the rescuers who gathered in a city park where a new memorial stands in view of the rebuilt bridge.
"I think the memorial is beautiful," said Kirk Washburn, who was fishing last Memorial Day weekend when the bridge collapsed, dropping cars and trucks from Interstate 40 like beads from a broken string. "I think it's also hard to come back here."
... James Johnson, Misty Johnson, Shae Johnson, Wayne Martin, Susan Martin, David Mueggenborg, Jean Mueggenborg, Gail Shanahan, Paul Tailele.
Eastbound, westbound. Ten cars, trucks, tractor-trailers, a motor home and a horse trailer plunged into the Arkansas River after a towboat pushing two barges rammed the bridge's support piers.
Kay Wauson came to the dedication of the memorial carrying a large photograph of Shanahan, her sister. It showed Shanahan on horseback, deftly cutting around a barrel.
Horses were the 49-year-old Texan's life, Wauson said. Shanahan was returning home to Texas from a barrel racing competition when truck, trailer and horses reached the bridge just after it fell.
"I've questioned why here, why was she on that bridge at that particular moment?" Wauson said. "I guess you've got to trust in God and get through it."
The memorial features a sculpture of a young girl with arms outstretched toward the interstate span. She cradles a dove and stands atop a jutting beam taken from the fallen bridge.
Designer Shahla Rahimi- Reynolds has said the sculpture, titled "Going Home," symbolizes all the victims leaving this earth toward heaven.
The names of the victims are etched in black granite around the sculpture's base. Family members and others placed a yellow rose beside each name.
Gov. Brad Henry told those gathered that it wasn't really a time for speeches, but a time to reflect. He also recognized the fishermen who pulled three of the five survivors from the river.
This weekend, just like last year, Washburn and his partner, Alton Wilhoit, were competing in a fishing tournament on the river.
"It seemed like it lasted forever," Washburn said of those moments before Wilhoit brought traffic to a halt by firing a flare onto the road, "but the whole thing was just a couple of minutes."
James Bilyeu, who was plucked from the river by fishermen Norman Barton Jr. and Randy Graham, did not want to talk about that day. He vowed to return to the memorial every year.
"If it hadn't been for Norman and Randy, I was going down for the last count," he said. "I owe them my life."
A federal investigation into the collapse remains unfinished.
Towboat pilot William Joe Dedmon said he blacked out before hitting the bridge, something his lawyers and a prominent cardiologist attribute to a heart condition. Investigators also noted that Dedmon slept less than 10 hours in the two days before the accident.
Survivors and victims' family
members recently settled a lawsuit with the tugboat's owner,
Mississippi-based Magnolia Marine Transport Co.