Eulogy Read by Linda Farrow on Sept 19, 2001



It seems like years, but it was only a few weeks ago that the columnists were lamenting the lack of heroes in America and that our heroes were superficially famous stars of movie screens and sports arenas.

Now newspapers throughout the land devote pages to listing our heroes. Few, were famous before that infamous Tuesday. Most of our heroes came out of ordinary homes in cities and suburbs, going to work, just as they had done a thousand times before. But on that day, they were called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. And they did.

The American author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, said, “Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.” The skies, the skyscrapers, the police stations and the firehouses were filled with heroes on September 11 and the tragedies were written to a scale even greater than the buildings destroyed that day. In our industry, among those assembled here as well as those on the line right now, we have our own heroes, taken from our ranks but remembered now and forever.

When the winds of war blew across our land, our flying partners were in the eye of the storm. Not one of them knew when the day began that they would be the first casualties of this new war. More than a century ago, a philosopher was asked, “What, then is our duty?” And his answer was, “It is what the day requires.”

Our flying partners, like thousands of flight attendants around the world, went to work that fateful day, prepared to board flights and shepherd our passengers to their destinations. For a few hours, in a small space in the sky, we share our passengers’ hopes and dreams. We hear of their successes and disappointments. We see the
famous and the unknown, the rich and the refugees. We see people fleeing war and famine, who lean toward the cabin windows, searching for their first sight of our nation’s shores as we bring them to their new homeland. We see couples at the beginning of their lives together, grandparents on the way to see their first grandchild, and children, from six to sixty, going to visit with their parents.

We help America and the world do its business, flying brokers and bankers across the continents. We carry sales people to their clients and bring them back to their families when the deal is done. We have flown the nation’s soldiers into battle zones, and returned to take them home at battle’s end. All the while, we are together,
bound by our unique job, by our training and by our dedication to our passengers’
safety. At the beginning of our careers and every year until we take off our wings, we train to keep our passengers safe. We comfort them in turbulence, support them when they’re ill and evacuate them in emergencies.

That is why those of us who wear the wings are not co-workers, or associates, but flying partners. Every day that we board the aircraft, we are dependent upon one another to protect ourselves and our passengers. Our flying partners on our Flight 93 and Flight 175, as well as on American Flight 11 and Flight 77, saw something on that Tuesday morning that none of us have ever encountered. That day our flying partners saw an evil so great that the human eye could not recognize it. Even now the mind cannot encompass it. In the end they must have known that this evil of such immense proportions would defeat their efforts to protect their passengers and themselves.

Heroic efforts were made aboard those planes by flight attendants, who spent their last precious minutes alerting our companies to the threat and trying to protect others. Many more heroic acts took place that day and are known only to God.

In the airline industry tragic accidents are so rare they are known only by flight numbers. But how shall this tragedy be known? It was not an accident but a planned attack on America and on us. Never before has the industry lost so many crews, passengers and airplanes in so short a time. History might refer to this by the date, September 11, but whatever history calls it, we can be certain that it will always be known by the heroic acts of hundreds and thousands of ordinary people.

Among those flight attendants were veterans with 30 and 40 years of experience
and some who had been in the skies for less than a year. We had college graduates, former police officers, and mothers and fathers who had every expectation of returning to their families. They all shared a love of flying. They all knew that there was something about this job that gets into your soul and calls you to it.

Our heroes, whose names we are learning, are the flight attendants who have been taken from our ranks at United.

Lorraine Bay joined United 40 years ago and was the most senior of the flight attendants who died that day. She was on Flight 93.

Sandra Bradshaw was one of those who called from Flight 93, alerting the world to the tragedy unfolding above us. It was a call to say good-bye to her husband and children too.

Robert Fangman joined United just last November and was assigned to Boston in January. He was on Flight 175 and leaves behind his mother and six siblings.

Wanda Green, on Flight 93, had 29 years of seniority and had been planning to retire in the coming months. She leaves her parents, two children, a brother and a twin sister.

Amy Jarret, 28 years old, was on Flight 175. In her father’s eulogy, he said, “I don’t know what happened up there, but she would have been one of those people trying to do the right thing.”

Amy King and Michael Tarrou were engaged and had left their home in Stafford Springs, Connecticut that morning to work Flight 175. They were together when it was flown into the World Trade Center. Michael leaves a daughter.

Ceecee Lyles had been a police officer in Fort Myers, Florida, before joining United. She is another of the flight attendants who called from Flight 93. Her husband alerted authorities. Ceecee leaves her husband and four children.

Kathryn Yancey Laborie had been with United for seven years when she boarded Flight 175. Her father, in words similar to those used by many of the flight attendants’ families, said, “She loved to fly.” She leaves her parents and two brothers.

Alfred Marchand left the police force in Alamogordo, New Mexico, after a 20 year career, and pursued his love of travel and flying. He joined our ranks less than a year ago and was on Flight 175. He leaves his wife, his son, two stepsons and his mother.

Alicia Titus had been with an Internet firm but decided that she really belonged with us when she discovered her love of travel. Her father said that he had no doubt “Alicia died while trying to do good in the midst of evil”, on Flight 175. She was engaged to be married and leaves her parents and a sister.

Deborah Welsh had been with Eastern and Kiwi Airlines before coming to United five years ago. She was on Flight 93. She leaves her husband, who said of her, “She’d want us to make sure the planes keep going. She loved this industry.”

Each of them had plans for the future, whether it be marriage or retirement. Each of them had families to raise or be with. Each had hopes for tomorrow. Every one of them did what the day required.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge.” We stand with our fallen flying partners as we return to our flights and our passengers, knowing they gave the full measure in their time of challenge.

In their last moments, in that small space in the sky, those flight crews saw evil. It is our prayer and our faith that they now see the face of God and are at peace forever. We pray that their families and all of us who are their flying partners will find comfort in that. Hold them in your hearts and minds and prayers.

Thank you for coming here today to honor the lives and the memory of these heroes, our flying partners.

Written by Glenn R. Avery

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