I never liked talking about this day, but this year it means even more to me than it has in the past.
On this day 16 years ago, I was a 4th grader being pulled out of class and asked if my mommy went to work this morning. And I answered yes. As teachers and school staff kept me away from TVs and urged me to try to get mommy on the phone, nobody told me what was going on. And when I finally got her on the phone, and she told me she wasn't going to work that day, all that meant to me in the moment was that I didn't have to take the bus home. And I didn't really know why I got to leave school early while everyone else had to stay. I went home, and she was freaking out a little, crying a little. And she told me she wasn't going to have to go back to work for a few more days. And I was stoked. That meant more mornings eating breakfast with her before she drove me to school, and less afternoons I would have to take the bus home.
Some kids werent so lucky. Some kid's mothers and fathers went to work that morning or the night before, never to come home again. Now, 16 years later, I worked a flight into Washington DC and thought about how 16 years ago, a girl in my very position was headed to her fate. As we were deplaning today, a passenger took the time to say "Thank you for keeping us safe today," and, although we had no threats onboard, it struck me.
We are so much more than just flying waitresses. We are safety professionals, trained to put your life before ours. And not only be calm during chaos, but face it and HANDLE it.
Sitting in historic Alexandria, VA outside of DC today, I listened to my flying partner's story of her experience. How she was working a flight out of Pittsburgh, and was told they had to evacuate, they were in danger, they were under attack. So many tiny details and thousands of personal stories could just shake you.
My heart is with each brave soul that had to endure this day, experience the horror, and werent able to go home to their families. This day will always be close to home, and as painful as it is, I'm glad I will never, ever, not even a little bit, forget a single detail.