Shooting down an Iranian passenger plane;
In July, 1988, the USS Vincennes fired two missiles at an Iranian passenger plane known as Iran Air Flight 655, while traversing through Iranian territorial waters. The plane was on a regular flight from Iran's southern city of Bandar Abbas to Dubai. The passenger plane was completely destroyed and all 290 people on-board were killed among them 66 children. 26 years after the tragic incident, I visited family members of one of the victims of this event. They told me how the tragedy affected their lives and how their destiny was changed. Right after the incident US officials claimed their naval officers had mistaken the Iranian Airbus A300 for an F-14 Tomcat fighter. But Iran declared the incident an international crime. While the US government refused to apologize to the Iranian nation, it expressed the extent of its regret over the incident by awarding the Vincennes crew with combat-action ribbons. The depth of the tragedy becomes clear when it is understood that the USS Vincennes was able to identify the unknown aircraft as non-hostile and turned its attention elsewhere, the Vincennes captain ordered the missile attack. Accordingly every year Iranians throw flowers in the Persian Gulf to mark the anniversary of the US downing of the Iranian passenger plane.