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Airline crews gave us back our sky
As I sat and reflected on the images of the day, this first anniversary of the second day of infamy; the day that all Americans were forced to face the fact that people live in this world, in this nation, who will do anything possible to see this nation destroyed; this day that we cannot ever allow ourselves to forget ÐÐ through all the images and sound bites, one would not leave me.
The sun is shining brightly on the fairgrounds in Puyallup. Firefighters are raising a flag. Dozens and dozens filter in wearing their red, their white and their blue. I scan the crowd and I see him. He sits alone. He chats on his cell phone. The lone representative of a forgotten group of heroes and victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. How could we have forgotten them?
Of course, we remember the police, fire, EMS and other first-responders. And we should! The brave men and women who day in and day out put their lives on the line ensuring the safety of others, praying for a safe return at the end of their shift, back to their families.
We think of the brave soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors, many barely old enough to vote, who have volunteered to fight this nations battles, leaving family and friends on the other side of the world to hunt and destroy the very evil that would dare attack America. Whenever, wherever and however they are told, they fight and die, and do not ask why.
We are reminded of the construction crews ÐÐ men and women who tirelessly sacrificed to rebuild this nation. They gave up weekends, vacations and holidays to rebuild the Pentagon. They worked endless hours removing tons of debris from Ground Zero. They erased the scars of terror from the American landscape.
We mourn with the families of the cooks, the janitors, the secretaries, the stock traders and hundreds of others who did nothing more than show up to work. Show up as they would any other day. The innocent victims.
But sadly, we have forgotten a group of people. People whose entire job consists of making sure others are safe. They kiss their families goodbye and go to their jobs, and return home a couple days later. No, they are not 50 stories up in the air walking on steel. They do not stare down the barrel of a gun. Nor do they run into a burning building. But arguably, no one has been more affected by this tragedy. Their entire jobs have been transformed because of these attacks. According to some reports, they were the first victims that fateful morning. But they have been forgotten.
Let us not forget the men and women who serve as aircrews on our nations airlines. Let us not forget their sacrifices. Let us not forget their pain.
Thank you to these patriots, for returning to work and keeping America flying. Thank you for not bowing down to any terrorist.
And thank you, the one lone pilot who reminded me of these forgotten heroes. May God bless you and your family. Fly on the wings of eagles and be guarded by the wings of angels. You are my hero.
Richard M Mills