I am here today with a card for Freshly Made Sketches, but even more with a look back. It has been a few years since I shared a 9/11 tribute. Somewhat because I don’t want it to feel forced. Last year, there was a lot of personal sadness happening and I just could not handle more. But this year, I felt compelled to create and share in honor of those lost.
Because it has been a while, and because I mostly don’t share about my “day job” here, I’ll clarify for those who are newer to the blog. I am a pilot for United Airlines. I currently fly an Airbus 319/320 but on 9/11/2001 I flew a B757. On that day. From Providence, RI to Chicago O’Hare. I have shared stories over the years if you are interested: 9th Anniversary, 10th Anniversary, 11th Anniversary, 12th Anniversary, 13th Anniversary, 14th Anniversary, 15th Anniversary.
As time goes by, I thought that the memories would ease a bit. I’m sure for all of us, we have found that isn’t really true with this particular event. But as I was talking with my now 16 year old son last night, and sharing my experiences of that day, there are so many things that still stand out as if it was yesterday. The fear, the confusion, yes. But really the strongest part is the coming together of people. All of us. I miss that. I tried explaining it to my boys. I feel like in trying to control our fear we have lost a bit of what makes us special. So many people worldwide simply stopped and took care of each other. They looked to neighbors and people that they had never met and found a way to come together. I reflect on flying that day and the feeling of that glorious sky and the darkness that came after. And I’m grateful for the light that returned because of love and kindness.
As in previous years, my color scheme seems to remain the same. Blue and gray (silver). The colors of legacy United Airlines. But as with the new United, the colors are a bit updated. A nod to our history but with an eye to our future too. Please know that there no matter how many years go by, the pilots of United do not forget. Our brothers, our sisters, our friends, our family, the passengers entrusted to our care….all were taken. We work every day to honor them. Today especially.
I “borrowed” this photo from a friend and Captain I fly with. The wings and jackets representing the crews of United and American Airlines. My friend, Brian, works daily protecting the legacies of the pilots of United lost that day. He and their loved ones bring light to the darkness. It is an amazing gift.
So today, as in the past, I hope for more of that. Kindness and love are the only solution to the tragedy brought by hate. I hope that today, and on other days, we give each other a little grace and work to find the light.
In memory of:
United 93: Jason Dahl, LeRoy Homer, Lorraine Bay, Sandra Bradshaw, Wanda Green, CeeCee Lyles, Deborah 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