Once upon a time it was September 11, 2001, and our homeland came under attack. On that fateful Tuesday morning 40 free people, the passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93, seized the opportunity to launch a counterattack against our enemy. Though each of the 40 — including our son Todd — was killed in action, together they succeeded in preventing the additional loss of life on the ground and, most likely, further disaster in our nation’s Capital. This day, this event, this true story of courage in action needs to be remembered and told to future generations of Americans and free people from everywhere.
The 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial in Grapevine, Texas, serves as a national place of remembrance for those first defenders. From concept to reality, the memorial was the noble work of Foundation volunteers. On these pages, as 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America honors the 9/11 flight crews, we feature the national memorial with the same hope as its creators, remembrance.
To view a May 29, 2008, Dallas/Ft Worth CBS TV Channel 11 video report on the making and meaning of the memorial, click on the image below:
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On July 4, 2008, just outside of Dallas/Ft Worth International Airport, the first national memorial to 9/11 heroes was dedicated. Shirley Hall, who is a Flight Attendant and the Vice President of the 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial Foundation, explained the memorial sculpture’s symbolism:
“As volunteers on this project, we have each spent time describing this statue in our attempts to raise funds to turn Valerie’s dream into a reality. From Bryce Cameron Liston’s original interpretation to the final magnificent piece of art you see here today, each of us has shared our ideas on the symbolism of the statue.
“The entire bronze sculpture and Texas limestone base sit centered on the North, South, East and West directional indicator known as the “Compass Rose.” A granite facing displays the flights and names of the crew.
“A stone column rises to support a large globe, as we all know the aviation industry spans the world. The impressive eagles, a national symbol of freedom, represent both airlines, American and United that lost flights that morning.
“The Captain stands at the highest point, his copilot to his right, as it is on the airplane. The Captain is charged with the responsibility of protecting passengers, fellow crewmembers and the aircraft.
( Click on image to view the 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial)
“The First Officer is alert, his safety manual in hand, pointing to the western horizon, the intended destination of all four flights. Back-to-back placement of the Flight Attendants to the Cockpit Crew shows the teamwork of all flight crews, especially now — post 9/11.
“The young girl with her teddy bear represents the traveling public. She is the family on their big vacation, the newlyweds on honeymoon, the grandmother on her very first flight, the weary businessman and unfortunately now… she is the soldier off to war.
“The role best known by the general flying public is portrayed by the male Flight Attendant. He drapes a blanket around the small child. His duties show a commitment to passenger care and service.
“Indicative of her role as a safety professional, the female Flight Attendant stands in the protected position: her hand held in the International sign for “stop”, shielding her passenger from harm.
“The 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial is dedicated to the 33 flight crewmembers that were lost and all the crewmembers that courageously continue to be the ever-vigilant professionals of the airline industry.
“As you return to visit in a quieter moment, please remember that this site is sacred ground. Walk quietly, speak softly, pray if you will, cry if you must; but always look to the skies.
“To our heroes: first taken, last remembered, now honored.”
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Grapevine residents Donna Vickers, Tim Frazier, and Steve Novotny towards this post and the online memorial. In addition, we thank Lisa A. McCowan, Media Relations Manager of the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau, for her assistance and the additional photographs.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Valerie Thompson, Dean Thompson, the volunteers, the city of Grapevine, and all who helped make the 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial a beautiful and fitting tribute to our heroes. Thank you.
We will continue to add to these pages over time.
If you have suggestions or submissions for consideration, please email us at admin@911familiesforAmerica.org