APACHE JUNCTION, AZ — A Valley mother is honoring her three young children who lost their lives in a plane crash over the Superstition Mountains the day before Thanksgiving nine years ago.
On November 23, 2011, the plane was in the air for six minutes before it crashed. Karen Perry lost her three young kids and her ex-husband. Two other adults also died.
Wednesday, Perry unveiled the "Ribbon of Life" memorial by the Superstition Mountain Museum in Apache Junction. It took years of planning and raising $25,000 in donations.
"Life takes many turns. Ups and downs, ebbs and flows. And so that's the significance of the ribbon," said Perry.
The sculpture is made of bronze and the memorial has pieces from the wreck. California-based sculptor Louis Longi donated his time.
Perry wanted to honor all of those who've lost their lives in the Superstition Mountains, but being a commercial pilot herself, she also wanted to acknowledge and specifically name those who've died in aviation crashes. There's a plaque with 14 names at the memorial.
"We want our children to be remembered more than anything and this is the way for me to honor them and remember them and to share them with others," she said.
Morgan was nine years old and was born with epilepsy. "The prognosis was not good at all when she was born. We were told she would never walk or talk but she did all those things, she did them pretty well. Just a beautiful child."
Logan was eight. Perry said he was smart, charming and loved movies. "Just a little precocious and really funny child," said Perry.
Luke, 7, loved photography and being around people. "He'd get a hold of my Facebook page and alter it unbeknownst to me."
Perry said nothing truly separates a mother from her children, and if she had to do it all over again, she would.
"It is a difficult time of year because the memories are certainly bittersweet. But I'm also very thankful for the fact that I did have these children even though it was for a short time," she said.
In the past nine years, Perry has written a book and started a nonprofit 3 Wings of Life.