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Elkhart remembers Navy veteran who survived hijacking

Clinton Suggs // Photo provided

The city of Elkhart is remembering a Navy veteran who survived a 1985 plane hijacking that made international headlines.

Clinton Suggs was one of six Navy divers on a plane hijacked in Beirut. They were held captive for 19 days and beaten. One diver was killed.

Suggs' widow says he was supposed to be next. She wants the world to remember the sacrifices he made.

Not a day goes by that Carla Suggs doesn't remember the sacrifices her husband made while serving his country as a Navy diver.

She doesn't want Americans to forget the suffering he went through at the hands of terrorists.

"I really want it to be known that he needs to be honored. He gave so much of himself to his country. He deserves the honor of a hero,” Carla said.

She points out, that after he got out of the service, he opted to return to his home town of Elkhart and got involved in a number of activities, including serving as city safety director for a couple of years. But she says the experience he went through continued to haunt him almost every day

“The trauma I believe from that day, changed his life forever,” Carla said.

One of Clinton’s Suggs’ closest friends was Brent Curry. Both played sports at Elkhart Memorial High School where they graduated in 1974.

“After the hijacking, Clint went through a lot on that plane. Being as close as I was to Clint, he did tell to me about somethings that did happen on that plane that he probably didn't tell other people, and we tried to console him and tell him that it’s time to move on, because you a great guy,” Curry said.

Later this month, Carla Suggs wants to hold a community celebration of Clinton’s life.

“We are going to honor him. We are trying to get friends and family together and make sure that we honor him as the hero that he was and celebrate the life of Clinton Suggs,” Carla said.

A celebration of the life of Clinton Suggs will be held June 30 at 5 p.m.

It will be held at the D.A.V. Hall on Middleton Run Road in Elkhart.

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