September 11, 2001: Never Forgotten!

WTC 2 Plane
I found this tribute to my fellow crew members who lost their lives on the clear cool September morning.  The author was a fellow UAL pilot, Jay Heppner.  I could not have written a more poignant salute to our fallen airline comrades!
September 11, 2001
On a clear, warm September morning 11 years ago, our world and sense of security forever changed. The images of aircraft – our aircraft used as weapons against us — flying into buildings, the collapse of the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the fire pluming from the Pentagon, and a southwestern Pennsylvania farm field will forever be etched in our minds.
Each anniversary of 9/11, we recall the loss of friends, fellow employees and family members who died on that horrific day. We’re also reminded how that day impacted our sense of safety and control, two components of our work lives all airline pilots hold sacred.We all continue to feel the effects of 9/11. Our airline has gone through a bankruptcy and a merger. Many of us continue to deal with the lingering psychological effects of anger and other emotions. Yet, despite these challenges, it is important for us to remember what we have overcome. Our will to fight and stand up to those who would do us harm, our dedication and commitment to making air transportation as safe and secure as possible, and our continued belief in a free and open society have never been stronger. These characteristics – characteristics that make us unique – have sustained us during this difficult time.
“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
-President Barack Obama
As United pilots, we all experienced a personal loss with the death of four of our fellow pilots 11 years ago: Captain Victor Saracini and First Officer Michael Horrocks of Flight 175; and Captain Jason Dahl and First Officer LeRoy Homer of Flight 93. The sacrifices of these brave aviators, together with the crewmembers on American Airlines Flights 11 and 77, serve as reminders that we cannot afford to be complacent or stagnant in the upkeep of our national security and aviation safety.On September 11, 2001, each United pilot inherited the responsibility of carrying on the legacies of Captain Saracini, Captain Dahl, First Officer Horrocks and First Officer Homer. Each time we enter the cockpit, our devotion to safety and professionalism honors their memories and lives up to the examples they set. It is our duty to continue carrying their light and honoring them with our service.

Let us all pause today to acknowledge the sacrifices of our fallen brethren and to reaffirm our collective vow to never forget the following men and women who lost their lives 11 years ago today:

United Flight 93:
Captain Jason Dahl (a personal friend of yours truly, Captain Blowdri)
First Officer LeRoy Homer, Jr.
Flight Attendant Lorraine Bay
Flight Attendant Sandra Bradshaw
Flight Attendant Wanda Green
Flight Attendant CeeCee Lyles
Flight Attendant Deborah Welsh

United Flight 175:
Captain Victor Saracini
First Officer Michael Horrocks
Flight Attendant Robert Fangman
Flight Attendant Amy Jarret (another friend)
Flight Attendant Amy King (another friend)
Flight Attendant Kathryn Laborie
Flight Attendant Alfred Marchand
Flight Attendant Michael Tarrou (another friend & Amy’s fiancé)
Flight Attendant Alicia Titus
Customer Service Representative Marianne MacFarlane
Customer Service Representative Jesus Sanchez

American Flight 11:
Captain John Ogonowski
First Officer Thomas McGuinness
Flight Attendant Barbara Arestegui
Flight Attendant Jeffrey Collman
Flight Attendant Sara Low
Flight Attendant Karen Martin
Flight Attendant Kathleen Nicosia
Flight Attendant Betty Ong
Flight Attendant Jean Roger
Flight Attendant Dianne Snyder
Flight Attendant Madeline Sweeney

American Flight 77:
Captain Charles Burlingame
First Officer David Charlebois
Flight Attendant Michele Heidenberger
Flight Attendant Jennifer Lewis
Flight Attendant Kenneth Lewis
Flight Attendant Renee May

These fallen heroes are gone, however, they will never be forgotten! 

A Promise Made, A Promise Kept!

The 9/11 attacks

(UAL Flt 175 prior to impacting The World Trade Center Bldg.)

On September 11, 2001, we suffered the worst terrorist attack in the history of the USA.  It was a moment that reverberated around the world instantly.  Within just a few days our government issued a promise that “we would do whatever it takes to bring the individual(s) to justice”.

The USA put into a plan, worldwide, to hunt down, apprehend, and bring the individual(s) to justice.

As the days turned into weeks, the weeks turned into months, and the months turned into years, the idea of keeping that promise seemed to fade into the distant past.  It appeared that the Taliban and Saddam Hussein had replaced Osama bin Laden as the prime focus in our war on terrorism over the past nine and one half years.  Rarely would the name of Osama bin Laden come up on newscasts or in newsprint.

However, out of the clear blue, on Sunday night May 1, 2011, Osama bin Laden’s name re-appeared front and center in the news like a bolt of lightening.  On that evening the news organizations, worldwide, initially reported that the USA had found, captured, and killed Osama bin Laden in a city not far from the Pakistan capital city of Islamabad! It now appears that bin Laden had lived in that compound for the last 5-6 years!

How can it happen that the world’s most wanted terrorist could live, without any detection, in a large city in Pakistan, an ally of the USA?  The city of Abbottabad, Pakistan has a large military presence, both active duty and retired, living in this city.  As a matter of fact, Osama binLaden’s compound was situated less than 10 minutes from Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point Military Academy! Is that incredulous or what?

I find it inconceivable that the world’s most wanted terrorist could hideout within plain sight of thousands of people!

Nevertheless, to the people who died on September 11, 2001, in the World Trade Center buildings, FDNY firefighters, the NYPD, innocent bystanders on the ground, and all the flight crewmembers, May 1, 2011, has culminated in the death of the orchestrator of that devilish terrorist plot that has defined the first decade of the 21st century.

Notwithstanding, the threat of terrorism still rages on worldwide!  However, the USA has delivered a huge blow to terrorism with the elimination of Osama bin Laden!

So to my friend and coworker, Captain Jason Dahl, and to all his crew on UAL flight 93 that crashed in a field in PA, to the crewmembers of UAL flight 175 that crashed into the World Trade Center, and lastly to the crewmembers of both AA flights 11 and 77……..




9/11: Where Were You?

The 9/11 attacks

(UAL flt 175 prior to impacting The World Trade Center)

It has been nine long, and sometimes painful, years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and the UAL crash in Pennsylvania.  On that day I lost one friend, Captain Jason Dahl the captain on UAL flight 93, the airplane that crashed in PA.

Saturday marks the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States. For those of us in the airline industry, and specifically at United and American Airlines, the date is particularly poignant. It is a painful tribute for all who lost friends, colleagues, and passengers. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing on that sunny September morning when we first became aware of what had happened. This Saturday, there will be numerous memorial services and events and, hopefully, you can take part in one of them.

The flight crew of UAL flight 175.

The flight crew of UAL flight 93.

The flight crew of AA flight 11.

The flight crew of AA flight 77.

Follow this link to see the video regrading the memorial and new proposal for the national park at the crash site of UAL flight 93 in Shanksville, PA.

Where were you on the morning of September 11, 2001, the day that the world changed forever?

Please never forget these honorable people and their ultimate sacrifice!  One must remember that the price of freedom sometimes can be the ultimate sacrifice!

When you watch this video pay close attention to this video and the lyrics from this Alan Jackson song!