As summer comes to a close, we begin to prepare ourselves for the September 11th Memorials held all across our nation and the world.
Keeping our commitment to Never Forget, Flight Attendant honor guards will stand in memory of the crew members who made the ultimate sacrifice twenty-two years ago. Our AFA honor guards were selected from United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Horizon Air, and Spirit Airlines.
In addition to attendance at the national memorials in New York City, Washington D.C., and others around the country, Flight Attendants and AFA representatives and volunteers will attend the September 11th Memorial Observance Ceremony at the Flight 93 Memorial National Park.
We encourage you to attend a ceremony in your area, alongside your AFA Leaders, your fellow Flight Attendants, and the friends and families of those whose lives were lost in these devastating terrorist attacks.
This day resonates differently with each of us. There is no right or wrong way to honor and remember the family we lost that day. Whether you are flying in the operation, attending a memorial, or spending time with loved ones, take a moment to pause and reflect on the heroism and ultimate sacrifice of that day. Remember them.
If you aren’t able to be part of a local Memorial service, simply take a moment of silence in honor of our heroes in aviation, as well as those first responders and anyone touched by the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
Suggested moments of silence:
- 8:46 am AA Flight 11
- 9:03 am UA Flight 175
- 9:37 am AA Flight 77
- 9:57 am UA Flight 93
For the month of September and leading up to the 11th, black ribbons will be provided through your Local Council to be worn behind your AFA pin. Wear them as a remembrance of our flying partners, family, and friends as a reminder that they will always be with us.
A limited supply of the AFA September 11th Remembrance pins, honoring the victims of 9/11, are available through your Local Council.
Personal Strategies for managing the anniversary of September 11th
Anniversaries of tragedies can be difficult times for many people. For some, the anniversary of 9/11 continues to be a powerful reminder of loss. For others, who thought they had put the tragedy behind them, the anniversary may produce unexpected anxiety or grief. The anniversary and the media replay of that day’s losses may stir strong emotions and difficult memories in many of us. But there are ways to cope:
- Observe the anniversary in a way that’s comfortable for you. Connecting with others who shared your impact, getting involved in memorial activities and talking about the events of that day are all important coping strategies, but taking time to be by yourself – to think and reflect – can be helpful and healing as well.
- Limit television and social media as much as possible. The visual images of the losses that day can prompt especially strong reactions. Be prepared to take a digital vacation or frequent time-outs in and around the anniversary to minimize or all together avoid these visual triggers.
- If you start to feel overwhelmed, talk with a friend, family member, or your AFA EAP. Often, talking about your fears and feelings is enough to relieve stress and realize that other people share your feelings. Taking action is a sign of strength and self-awareness.
- Recall other times you’ve experienced strong emotions. Identify which coping strategies have worked for you in the past and use them.
- Don’t compare yourself to how others around you appear to be dealing with the September 11th anniversary. Everyone experiences and copes with stress differently. Try not to judge people’s emotions by their outside appearance.
- If you have strong feelings that haven’t or won’t go away, seeking help from a professional may prove useful. Your AFA EAP can provide you with referrals.
- Share this information with a flying partner who may be struggling with the upcoming anniversary.
However, you choose to structure your day, this September 11th, or however it just naturally unfolds, please remember that your AFA EAP committee representatives welcome being a part of it. We’re just a phone call away.
Please call AFA EAP at 1-800-424-2406 for assistance or contact your local AFA EAP committee listed at www.afacwa.org/eap