Today marks 10 years since one of the darkest days in recent history. Last year I wrote about some of my experiences that day while working at United Airlines. As I went back to read that post, I realized how much I didn’t cover. I know everyone remembers that day with their own unique point of view and mine is very much as a working pilot. I told you about flying that morning and the sky being so clear. It is one of the things I will always picture clearly, I think. I also spoke of how my day transpired. On this landmark anniversary, I want to speak of another important thing I took away from the day.
While at O’Hare, after our passengers had been helped, my Captain and I were then left like many others. We had no idea what to do to help. You see, pilots are generally type A personalities and we like to fix things…immediately. Like everyone else, we were left helpless as we watched the horror of the day unfolding. We watched film of OUR airplane, our brothers and sisters, our customers being used to commit an atrocity. There was a banding together in the crew room with people I had never met as we cried over the losses. We became friends even though we had never met. When we finally got to our hotel room, we rode in on a bus with some of our customers. Later at dinner, while we watched the President speak to the country, those same customers bought our dinners. They thanked us, even though they didn’t know us, for doing our job safely every day. After we finally got the air traffic control system moving again, I was on my final leg home out of Portland, OR. We came to the airport to find passengers dressed in their red, white and blue. Perfect strangers banding together to go get on an airplane to Washington, DC, because no one was going to keep them from taking their trip. They bonded, they hugged and that flight home was one of the best of my career.
So I guess that is my focus for this tenth anniversary. Putting away the differences, showing civility to a stranger, assuming the best instead of the worst. Figuratively letting the clouds clear and allowing ourselves see that beautiful blue sky again.
I suppose it isn’t hard to see my inspiration for today’s card. I am thinking of all those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2011 and of all the heroes who stepped in to save even more from being lost. This sketch is courtesy of a brand new sketch challenge, Freshly Made Sketches and is their first sketch FMS1.
In memory of:
United 93: Jason Dahl, LeRoy Homer, Lorraine Bay, Sandra Bradshaw, Wanda Green, CeeCee Lyles, Deorah Welsh
United 175: Victor Saracini, Michael Horrocks, Robert Fangman, Amy Jarret, Amy King, Kathryn Laborie, Alfred Marchand, Michael Tarrou, Alicia Titus
American 11: John Ogonowski, Thomas McGuinness, Barbara Arestegui, Jeffrey Collman, Sara Low, Karen Martin, Kathleen Nicosia, Betty Ong, Jean D. Roger, Dianne Snyder, Amy Sweeney
American 77: Charles Burlingame III, David Charlebois, Michele Heidenberger, Jennifer Lewis, Kenneth Lewis, Renee May