National News

Family receives special memento before Georgia Dome implosion

Posted November 20, 2017 11:00 a.m. EST

— As residents in Atlanta prepared to say goodbye to the Georgia Dome, we're hearing about special memories from inside the 25-year-old stadium.

Clara Harrington remembers the first time she went to a football game there.

"It was Aug. 23, 1992," she told CBS46. "I remember that because it was my husband's birthday."

Harrington's family had season tickets from day one. It was a weekly tradition to root for the Falcons as a family.

"I just think the Dome is such a special place," Clara's son, Candler, said. "I have a lot of good memories there."

"It's going to be pretty sad to see it go, for sure," her other son, John, added.

The stadium took on a different meaning in December of 2014, after Clara's husband, Jimmy, died from a rare cancer.

"When he was first diagnosed they told him he had two to four years," Clara said. "He lived 10. So we felt pretty fortunate."

Before the Falcons kicked off their final season under the dome, John brought some of his father's ashes with him onto the field,

as he received his high school diploma at the stadium. Then during the season, a family friend wrote a small message on the wall behind the seats to make sure Jimmy could still watch his beloved Falcons.

"It was just another way to memorialize him," Candler said.

Soon after, the team started winning like never before. They finished their last season under the dome with a trip to the Super Bowl.

"We were like, 'that's not a coincidence,'" Clara said, adding, "I'm a believer."

The family thought they would never see the wall again, as demolition crews prepped the stadium for Monday's implosion.

CBS46 reached out to the Georgia World Congress Center for help in trying to track down the cement wall. Workers first thought it was surely torn down, as few walls were still standing.

However, construction crews found it and cut it out to give to the family as a gift, one they will cherish forever.