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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.

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

20th Anniversary of 9/11
Resiliency Essay Competition

The "Kennifer Bench" sits in a garden in Culpepper, VA. The bench was created by Ken and Jennifer Lewis' American Airlines Flight Attendant colleagues. The garden and the bench are a living tribute to the Lewis' who lost their lives on AA Flight 77. Read full details in "Reclaiming the Sky."

$3,300 in Awards
(Scroll down to submit an essay. Accepting essays until Aug 10, 2021)

The essay competition gives today's generation of airport and airline employees, as well as aviation students, an opportunity to tell how lessons they learn from the generation of 9/11 aviation heroes profiled in "Reclaiming the Sky" can help them meet Covid 19 challenges in their lives.

See news stories about the contest.

Download a Program Description

Three categories:

  • Airport employees (working at a North American airport)
  • Airline employees (flight attendants or pilots in the US or Canada)
  • Aviation students (aviation college and high school in US or Canada)

Winners will be announced in September, 2021 as part of the 20th anniversary commemoration of 9/11.


Meet the Judges

Resiliency helps us not simply endure but prevail. This essay competition conducted by the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham (starting early 2021) gives today's airport and airline employees, as well as aviation college and high school students (some of whom were not yet born on 9/11,), a chance to tell how they can apply lessons of courage from the heroism of the 9/11 generation to help them prevail against Covid 19 and move forward with their lives.


Tell in 500 to 700 words how you can apply lessons from acts of courage shown by an aviation employee or employees profiled in "Reclaiming the Sky" to help you overcome Covid 19 challenges in your life.

"Reclaiming the Sky," by Tom Murphy, tells the story of a group of aviation employees in Boston, EWR/Newark, NJ and Washington, DC, who came to work on the morning of September 11, 2001 expecting a normal day. Instead, they found themselves in the middle of an attack on America, one in which the aviation industry was used as the means. Despite great personal losses, including losing family and friends, they responded with courage that day and in the weeks and months that followed.

Covid 19 is a different kind of tragedy, but one with a devastating impact. The courage shown by the 9/11 generation can be an inspiration to help today's generation rebound from Covid 19 and find the strength to rise up in the face of personal and professional challenges - to move forward after the covid virus crisis.

SUGGESTION: sign up for our newsletter so we can keep you apprised of on-going developments with the project, including the announcement of winners.

Join in, write an essay and when you're ready to submit it, click below:

(Essays accepted until Aug 10, 2021)

Tom Murphy Tom Murphy
Tom Murphy
Director, Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University, and President, Service Institute
Contact Tom at: