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Archive for Sunday, July 15, 2001

20 years hasn’t healed Hyatt wounds

Lawrence resident’s lesson from tragedy: ‘Enjoy your parents while you have them’

July 15, 2001

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Twenty years after her parents were killed in the Hyatt Regency skywalk calamity, Laurie McLane-Higginson still keeps a storage tub full of press clippings about the accident.

"That kind of stuff is important," she said. "You just kind of hang on to it and know that it's there."

Memories and photographs of Laurie McLane-Higginson's mother and
father, William and Betty Hall McLane, allow her to connect her
children to their grandparents. The McLanes were two of the 114
people killed 20 years ago in the Hyatt Regency skywalk disaster in
Kansas City, Mo. McLane-Higginson shared portraits of her mother
and father Saturday at home.

Memories and photographs of Laurie McLane-Higginson's mother and father, William and Betty Hall McLane, allow her to connect her children to their grandparents. The McLanes were two of the 114 people killed 20 years ago in the Hyatt Regency skywalk disaster in Kansas City, Mo. McLane-Higginson shared portraits of her mother and father Saturday at home.

Along with photos and memories, McLane-Higginson uses the articles to connect her children with their grandparents, William and Betty Hall McLane of Prairie Village.

"That's the worst part about it," she said. "They didn't get to meet these wonderful kids, and these kids didn't get to meet these wonderful people."

McLane-Higginson, 49, an art teacher at Free State High School, sometimes uses her own life story when her students complain about their parents.

"I know it's kind of a cheap shot, but you need to think your parents won't be around forever," she said. "Enjoy your parents while you have them, because you just don't know. Enjoy everybody while you have them."

McLane-Higginson said she didn't mind the media bringing up the tragedy on anniversaries. She said it was a relief to know people haven't forgotten.

If anything, the tragedy brought her closer to her siblings. McLane-Higginson's youngest sister was 18 and had just graduated high school when it happened.

"It's the old wake-up call," she said. "Life is short; live it to its fullest."
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