A Proud Moment: Linda Souder stands with members of the 3rd Air Calvary returning from Iraq in 2004. She worked the flight as an American Airlines Flight Attendant. "It was a proud moment," she said.

Classic "Proudly I Fly" stories:

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

  REGISTER to receive our monthly newsletter - with updates as we strive to promote aviation professionals who are doing for others, enter your email address:


For "Links" to Aviation Charities Click here

Please Tell-A-Friend about this site.

Do you have an aviation topic of importance to suggest to Tom? Click here

Aviation "Thank You"

Dave Kuper, an official affiliated with NASA, read Linda Souder's tribute to her colleagues from American Airlines Flight 77 in last month's newsletter. He wrote this letter below as a "thank you" to Linda and to all who work in aviation. He said: "Please share this with all flight crews, cabin crews, maintenance crews, ground crews, customer service crews - and everyone who is reclaiming the skies."

Want to reread Linda Souder's tribute? Click here

Linda Souder's story is very moving. It gave me pause to remember not just my own story, but to reflect on the events of that morning, and the days, the weeks, and the months afterwards of all the untold sacrifices and heroic efforts by many nameless, faceless heroes, that mark that historic moment in time for me.

9-11 affected every living human being to some extent, but as you get closer to the event itself and the people who were more directly involved and/or affected by it, the picture sharpens in focus. I also recall an earlier time when I was in the military when we lost an aircraft - I saw experienced, hardened military pilots and aircrew turn in their wings. So, I say to you that I know it took great courage for the men and women in civil aviation to climb back aboard those aircraft and get the nation moving again.

No one ever said "Thank You" for getting back on your aircraft and getting things moving. No one ever said "Thank You" for putting up with too little too late. Yet, you're still in there working to make this system a better, safer, and more efficient system.

To Linda Souder and her colleagues I say "Thank You" for reaching out to recognize and especially to help one another heal. That is the most positive action a person can take. But, going the extra mile for everyone else is a mark of leadership, professionalism, unity, integrity, and personal pride.

I "Thank You" and your peers for your courage in returning to the sky. I "Thank You" for honoring each other - for in doing so, you honor me and those like me. I "Thank You" for your tireless work as an aviation professional and all you've accomplished and all you're working to accomplish.

And, I "Thank You" for continuing to fight the good fight, for your personal sacrifice of every ungrateful mile you've traveled, and the unnoticed sweat, tears, and labor that you selflessly invest for everyone, everyday.

Thanx Again!

Dave Kuper, C.P.P.
Lead Analyst, SIRS (Security Incident Reporting Systems)

(If you'd like to contact Dave, you can reach him at:

Two Poems

"Some people break into sobbing and crying when something horrible happens. I'm not that way," said Sunny Bishop, an 18-year Boston-based American Airlines Flight Attendant. It took Sunny, who flew with the crew from Flight 11, four years to explore her emotions after 9/11. About the time of the 4th anniversary, she took a writing class. The teacher told the class to start writing. "No editing - simply let your emotions come to the surface," he said. Sunny found expression for her emotions in two poems. The first is about 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The second is about 9/11. "I hope this helps people feel comfortable enough to express their emotions," she said. "Maybe they've been keeping them bottled up below the surface, like me. But writing helps. I know it helped me. These poems wrote themselves, once I decided to try."

By Sunny Bishop

I just can't
I just can't watch
If I watch them
I'll have to visit hell again

I've been there
I've tried so hard
I close my mind to it
But sometimes it reaches in anyway

Just one flip of the channel
The two towers are crumbling
And briefly I'm sucked back in

Just another flip of the channel
Then just another show
I close my eyes
Then open

I see my home
I see my best friend
I am back where I am safe
Safe at home, safe in my mind.

(9/11 & Katrina)
By Sunny Bishop

Two tragedies
Linked together by scope
One man made
One nature made

Such sorrow
Unspeakable horror
Darkness invades
Might take over

The tears threaten
Nausea nearly gets out
Keep it down
Don't face it

It will be heard
It must be felt
It may kill the heart
It must come out

All alone
Need ones in kind
Suffer together
Weep together

In concert we rely
Jointly uplifting
Vowing to fight
Loving more deeply

Keep on
It will not last
Strong survive
That's the best
That's revenge


From Sharon Hill:

I often have passengers who see my 11/77 pin and ask if that is my hire date. I always tell them, no those are our fallen friends' flight numbers from 9-11. I always get a very surprised look. These people feel bad they have forgotten the numbers. By wearing these numbers we help others remember why we are reclaiming our lives and jobs.

From Judy Rowe, American Airlines Flight Attendant, DCA Base:

Coach Janet was so right in the "Deeper Look" piece from January newsletter. When I earned my degree in neuropsychological (brain/behavior relationships) in May of 2000, I learned how powerful positive thoughts can be to change our emotional and physical realms. In the 1970s, scientist Candace Pert was the first to actually measure this correlation in the lab. A great movie for all interested in this quantum physics arena is "What the Bleep Do We Know?" Candace Pert is featured in that film and talks to us about how "it really is all in your head."

From Donna Ponte, American Airlines Flight Attendant:

On my first flight after 9/11, I flew on Saturday, September 15, to Chester, England. It was not my regular schedule, we were understaffed, and it was my first flight to Chester. All of us on the flight, flight attendants, pilots and passengers were very supportive of each other and happy that each and every one of us was present. The van driver to the hotel refused his tips and asked us instead to give the money to the New York City Firemen.

On my layover on a Sunday, I didn't really know where to go for a meal and I decided to take a walk along the top of the wall around the downtown city area and look for a restaurant. I finally found a hotel and restaurant called The Grosenvor which is still owned by a prince, I understand. I sat for a while in the separate bar area and liked the place and the pint of ale and moved over to the dining area. I was looking out the front windows. What I saw was the windows of the building opposite which in turn were reflecting the front of the hotel I was in. There was a British flag flying on top with the sky in the background. Suddenly, the breeze picked up and there was another flag flowing in the breeze, right next to the British colours. It was an American flag! Right then, when we needed friends, without asking, begging or cajoling, they were flying right beside us. I can tell you I shed a few tears.

I hope and pray that peace in our time is achieved.

Any comments? Anything you'd like to share?

Enter your comments below. (If you have a longer "story" to tell, or a story about your experiences, please feel free to go to the PROUDLY I FLY page click here.)


Readers' comments will be discussed in the next edition of our email newsletter. To register for your copy, click here

If you find this forum useful - please tell a friend. The more people who join in, the richer the results for all.