View video (above) describing the project
Video (below) tells how an Iraq vet came to narrate the audio book.

9/11 Resiliency Project 2024

Giving Aviation's Young Professionals and Aviation Students a Chance to Explore "Resiliency Lessons" from the Stories of 9/11's Aviation Heroes

The goal is to give tomorrow's aviation leaders an opportunity to learn lessons from the example of 9/11's aviation heroes - and keep the memory of the heroes alive.

The Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University is partnering with Airports Council Int'l - North America and sponsors, including SSP America and others, to give aviation's Young Professionals and a leadership group of aviation students from UAA member schools a chance to explore lessons from the 9/11 aviation heroes in "Reclaiming the Sky" and get mentor support to adapt the lessons for themselves.

The book profiles aviation employees in Boston, New York/Newark and Washington, DC who "rose up" on 9/11 and in the days, weeks and months that followed to take back hope, rebuild their lives - and "reclaim" the sky. The heroes from the 9/11 generation can serve as models for the new generation of employees, who one day will become the industry's leaders.

Read the 2023 Winning Stories from the 2023 "pilot" that launched the project last year.

Read more about the plan to expand in 2024.

Learning Resiliency from 9/11
Heroes to Meet Today's Challenges

Essay participants will have a chance to glean lessons of courage and resiliency from employees profiled in "Reclaiming the Sky: 9/11 and the Untold Story of the Men and Women Who Kept America Flying."

See photos of the aviation employees profiled in the book.

Create a Book Club

Consider gathering as group to read the story and discuss the lessons, then submit an essay.

All profits from "Reclaiming the Sky" support aviation charities – including flight attendant charities - so reading the story in a group can be a great way to honor 9/11's aviation heroes and promote community.

Book Fund:

We're enlisting sponsors to cover the administrative costs of the contest and provide free books to aviation workers. Contributions are tax deductible.

Become a "Book Fund Sponsor."

Essay Judges

Judges will include 9/11 airport and airline employees profiled in "Reclaiming the Sky."

Meet the judges.

Also, see photos of the aviation employees profiled in the book.

Photo on right shows, back row: Bernie Schettino, Tom Innace, Sue Baer.
Front row: Terri Rizzuto, Toni Knisley, Tom Murphy, Debbie Roland.

Essay Advisory Committee

We're grateful to aviation leaders for promoting this competition, including University Aviation Association, AAAE/NEC, ACI-NA's HR Committee and others.

See list of endorsements.

Learning from Loss

When "Reclaiming the Sky" was first published in 2006 on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, author Tom Murphy broke out the elements of heroism reflected in the stories of the aviation employees he profiled. Listen to the radio clips below:

Photo above shows Ken and Jennifer Lewis, the married flight attendant couple aboard American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon.

The audiobook for "Reclaiming the Sky" (available on Amazon) was created by an Iraq War vet who used the experience to overcome the challenges of PTSD.

Read Pete Hawks' story.

Edge4Vets Supports Veterans

Healing principles from "Reclaiming the Sky" inform the curriculum for the Human Resiliency Institute's nationally successful Edge4Vets program.

Edge4Vets has trained more than 1500 military veterans and service personnel in eight states and Canada since 2011. The workshops teach them how to tap their resiliency strengths to prepare for jobs that can lead to careers.

Veterans from Edge4Vets are helping administer the essay competition.

Learn more about Edge4Vets.

The Human Resiliency Institute At Fordham
  • Conducts research and evaluations
  • Offers training to help today's employees cope with pressures from congestion, delays and high security.
Operating out of Fordham's Gabelli School of Business, the Institute expands upon work initiated by Reclaiming the Sky, a non-profit that supported workers' resiliency after 9/11.

"Resiliency Edge" integrates priciples from "Reclaiming the Sky" into the training curriculum.

Purchase the book:

All Profits Support
Aviation Charities

Contact the author with a question or comment:
Tom Murphy .org

Click to Enlarge

Aviation workers profiled, include (top left) Bernie Schettino, Tom Innace, Sue Baer. Front row, Terri Rizzuto, Toni Knisley and Debbie Roland, with author, Tom Murphy.

Read a chapter from the book: Click here

Classic "Proudly I Fly" stories:

"My Uniform"
Aviation "Thank You"
Why Does Mary Fly?
Turning Loss into Action
Flying the Flag
Joy in Giving

Special thanks to American Airlines captain, Terry Thames, pictured above, who draped a flag out his cockpit window after returning to Washington following 9/11. The second photo shows a memorial offered for Port Authority of NY and NJ staff by the Newark Liberty International Airport Airline Managers Council (NIAAMCO.) Viewed from either direction, front or back, it reads: 9/11. In the third photo, Oneka Lupe, a customer service agent at Newark, does her best to enhance the traveling experience for customers.

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The book "Reclaiming the Sky" Offers Profiles
in Aviation Courage

View news clips from the book's 2006 introduction at the Pentagon - interviewing American Airlines Flight Attendant colleagues of the crew from Flight 77.

- All author profits support Aviation Charities. Learn how each charity is serving its community in unique fashion.

- Read first-person accounts from today's aviation professionals who embody the resiliency principles reflected in Reclaiming the Sky's stories of aviation courage:

- See photos from several of our participating charities' 9/11 anniversary Remembrances.

  • "Claiming Your Sky" Supports Students

We offer a program that helps students prepare for a career in aviation using the principles in the book.

- "Claiming Your Sky" puts the "leadership principles" from the stories into a curriculum to help students enhance decision-making skills, deepen their capacity for empathy and increase their chances for aviation employment.

- Read Denis' Hamill's column in the NY Daily News.

  • READERS of the Book

- Read testimonials from Denis Hamill, John J. Nance, Denise Morrison, Doug McCormick and other leaders, as well as press clips.

- Get tips to create a Book Club. Expand your discussion of the "resiliency" themes of "Reclaiming the Sky" with friends and colleagues.

- Listen to a Radio Interview. Part One, Two, Three, and Four. Want a CD of this interview? Contact us.


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  • Contact the program director: Tom Murphy .org

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