July 4, 2008, Grapevine, Texas
I am here today to say a long overdue thank you to the crewmembers of American Airlines Flight #11, United Airlines Flight #175, American Airlines Flight # 77, and United Airlines Flight #93, our heroes, what they did that day to help the nation understand the events that were unfolding.
For each of us, it has been a long journey since Sept. 11, 2001, but we will always remember what we were doing on that day in time. We are here to honor the 33 crewmembers and understand the legacy they left behind. Their bravery and professionalism on that day will be with us as we go to work everyday, learning to take greater care of each other, for who knows what may be around the corner.
Recognizing these men and women as the very first responders to die in the line of duty that day, has been the mission of the 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial Foundation. Their example helped the determination of the other crews who went back into the skies once the authorities cleared the way. Everyone understood it wasn’t going to be easy. We all played those four flights through in our heads, putting ourselves in their places.
Their place in history was sealed that day and honoring them with this memorial is to remember their heroic acts. This memorial entitled “Valor, Commitment, Dedication” was a team effort in design and completion. What you see before you today has taken many long hours – or should I say years – of thoughtful dedication by a handful of precious volunteers who never waned in spirit and enthusiasm.
The actual sculpting of this magnificent memorial was done in a privately owned aircraft hangar here in Texas, sometimes hot and sometimes cold. My husband Dean and a core of very dedicated volunteers were responsible for the completion of this monument including sculpting, enlarging and molding. This effort was necessary to work within the monies donated to the Foundation at that point in time.
Ms. Shirley Hall, Vice President of the Flight Crew Memorial and member of the Design Committee would now like to share the symbolism of this beautiful memorial with you.