Texas City Disaster

In April 1962, Melanie Nessler puts flowers on the recently completed monument to people killed in the Texas City disaster of 1947, which happened 68 years ago today. A ceremony is set at 9 a.m. today at the Texas City Disaster Memorial in Memorial Park, Loop 197 and 29th Street in Texas City.

The Daily News file photo

Today is the anniversary of the Texas City Disaster, the worst industrial accident in the nation’s history.

The history of that tragic day — April 16, 1947 — has been told many times.

The Grandcamp, a French ship, was being loaded with ammonium nitrate on the waterfront.

A fire broke out. People gathered to watch volunteer crews battle the fire.

Just after 9 a.m., the ship exploded.

As firefighters tried to get the fires under control, another ship, the High Flyer, exploded.

The blasts were felt in Galveston. Some buildings in Texas City were flattened.

Houses were shaken off their foundations. About 600 people died.

It’s impossible to give an exact number. Many people simple vanished.

Those are the bare bones of the story. But the heart of the matter is in the stories that survivors tell, year after year, to the next generation.

Each year, survivors and the descendants of survivors tell stories about what that day was like.

Today, you’ll hear stories about courage and perseverance.

You’ll hear about the kindness and support of good neighbors and absolute strangers.

In many ways, the community of Texas City was defined by its response to that tragedy.

Some people left. But most stayed put, determined to rebuild.

Today’s the day to honor that legacy.

At A Glance

WHAT: Texas City Disaster Memorial

WHEN: 9 a.m. today

WHERE: Memorial Park, Loop 197 and 29th Street in Texas City

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