Nineteen years ago today, my flying world changed forever. For those new to my blog, I am a pilot for United Airlines. And this year, the anniversary of 9/11 feels somehow closer than in previous years. I have struggled to write this post because of strong emotions this week. Focusing is harder.
When those planes were used as weapons and all those innocents were killed, we knew the world would never be the same. I recognized pretty quickly that the impact to my career would be substantial. Two years later, seventeen years ago, I was given a furlough notice. For over 3 years, I had no job at United. The devastation of 9/11 went deep. We know the stories of first responders and their health issues. I can say with clarity that many airline families struggled for years. More loss. It is hard not to draw parallels to where we are now. I wrote last year (Eighteen Years) about one of the most notable parts in the days following 9/11 was how the world worked together. That there was a feeling of unity and kindness and love that shone through the darkness.
The darkness has crept back in. We all see it. We all comment on it. But, in truth, what are we personally doing to combat it? This card reflects how I’m feeling, I think. For any of my United brethren, you’ll understand this choice. It reminds me of our Training Center location in Denver. The place where we were so excited as new hires. Where we have gone for our upgrades. And now, again, where we go on the march backwards.
But the sentiment, a quote from Maya Angelou, seems right for the times too. We are fighting a different battle than nineteen years ago. But maybe we can use some of the lessons we learned then. We are the best versions of ourselves when we work to help others. Light can come in different ways. Small acts of kindness can make a big difference. Just like the night sky. One star may not add much light. But all of the stars together are brilliant.
To quote myself, 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. And maybe even be the light.
In memory of:
United 93: Jason Dahl, LeRoy Homer Jr., 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, Marianne McFarlane, Jesus Sanchez
American 11: John Ogonowski, Thomas McGuinness, Barbara Arestegui, Jeffrey Collman, Sara Low, Karen Martin, Kathleen Nicosia, Betty Ong, Jean D. Roger, Dianne Snyder, Madeline Sweeney
American 77: Charles Burlingame III, David Charlebois, Michele Heidenberger, Jennifer Lewis, Kenneth Lewis, Renee May