Ladies and Gentlemen:
On this 15th Anniversary, whether we cast our eyes upward toward the heavens or bow our head in silent and reflective prayer, our thoughts are with the brave and courageous who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.There were lessons learned on that fateful day.There is no denying that our world and our profession was dramatically altered from that day forward.However, we also learned that out of unimaginable horror and tragedy, there were legendary moments of heroism combined with compassion for one’s fellow man.
We will never forget our 25 Flight Attendant heroes and heroines on those four ill-fated flights ; those who were our first responders who performed duties for which no amount of training could have prepared them.We will always remember Flight Attendant Betty Ong from American Airlines flight 11 who conveyed the first detailed intelligence of what was transpiring on that flight.This served to alert our entire country and fellow crewmembers traveling in the sky that day.This very information was communicated to our crew members aboard United flight 93 who in turn initiated an act of bravery so selfless as they fought against evil; sacrificing their own lives so that countless other lives could be spared.
We mourn their loss but how can our hearts not be touched by their acts of sacrifice and bravery? My God, they make us all so proud to think of their divine acts of humanity and decency.
Within our Flight Attendant Union and our Flight Attendant community at large, regardless of airline affiliation, our family of colleagues worldwide sought and found solace in one another as we worked through our shared shock, disbelief and grief.We got back on airplanes to get passengers and fellow crew members home to their loved ones. We made those reunions and much-needed embraces of love happen.
We also will never forget the thousands who lost their lives on that tragic day.We also owe a debt of infinite gratitude to the hundreds of thousands more who continue to fight in the memory of those who perished to keep all of us as safe as possible in a world that was altered by the events of September 11th.We will never forget not only the Flight Attendants, Pilots, Customer Service Reps and brave passengers who were the first to die in a war that, at the time, we had no idea we were fighting. We will never forget the countless Union-Member First Responders who relinquished their own lives as they rescued others in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Their collective legacy is a strong and powerful one.Let us honor their memory by acknowledging our commitment to unity and our resolve to protect all of the freedoms of expression that make our country great. Let us continue to honor their memory through every action and deed; by never forgetting that on a day filled with so much darkness, they shined a light so bright illuminating a path for us all to follow …of compassion,selflessness and hope.
In their memory, we will never forget.
American Airlines Flight 11
Captain John Ogonowski, First Officer Thomas McGuinness,
Flight Attendants Barbara Arestequi, Jeffrey Collman, Sara Low, Karen, Martin, Kathleen Nicosia, Betty Ong, Jean Roger, Dianne Snyder, Madeline Sweeney
United Airlines Flight 93
Captain Jason Dahl, First Officer Leroy Homer,
Flight Attendants Lorraine Bay, Sandra Bradshaw, Wanda Green, CeeCee Lyles, Deborah Welsh
American Airlines Flight 77
Captain Charles Burlingame, First Officer David Charlebois,
Flight Attendants Michele Heidenberger, Jennifer Lewis, Kenneth Lewis, Renee May
United Airlines Flight 175
Captain Victor Saracini, First Officer Michael Horrocks,
Flight Attendants Robert Fangman, Amy Jarret, Amy King, Kathryn Laborie, Alfred Marchand, Michael Tarrou, Alicia Titus, Customer Service Reps Marianne MacFarlane, Jesus Sanchez
AFA-CWA United Master Executive Council