"Reclaiming the Sky"
Resiliency Project

Making "Never Forget" an Action Statement

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"Reclaiming the Sky" theme:

Service is a response to Loss that leads to Resiliency.

"When you are hurting, look for something you can do for someone else, no matter how small and do it. That will make you feel better."

-Susan Baer,
General Manager of Newark Airport on 9/11

Resiliency is the ability to "bounce back" from adversity.

"Reclaiming the Sky" tells the story of aviation employees in Boston, New York/Newark and Washington, DC who performed in extraordinary fashion during the national attack, one in which their industry was used as the means. The book's key theme around "service" is reflected in the comment by Susan Baer, the General Manager of Newark Airport, who said, "When you are hurting, look for something you can do for someone else."

Working in today's aviation industry can be challenging. There's Covid, along with security challenges, high traffic and more. Young Professionals, those under 40 years of age, can apply the service theme reflected in the heroes' stories as a crucial step in learning how to be resilient and perform at their peak.

The stories show how the pathway to moving forward after loss is, as Susan Baer said, to find a "purpose."

The project is conducted by the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University in partnership with Airports Council Int'l - North America and with support from sponsors, led by SSP America and others.

Watch the short video that explains this project.

In 2024, we're offering the project to aviation's Young Professionals as an expansion of the "pilot" we offered for YP's in 2023:

  • SPRING: a Zoom Orientation on MAY 31 open to aviation employees under 40 who register with us. Program mechanics will be outlined, Mentors (including industry leaders as well as aviation employees from the book) will be introduced and copies of the "Reclaiming the Sky" ebook will be provided.
  • SUMMER: read the book over the summer at your own pace. "Reclaiming the Sky" profiles airport and airline employees in Boston, New York and Washington, DC who came to work in the morning of September, 11, 2001 expecting a normal day, only to find that "just doing my job" was to become the creed of heroes. An ONLINE workshop will be offered on JULY 19 to give Young Professional participants and Mentors a chance to discuss the lessons, and explore how to apply them to meet today's challenges. Participants will have a chance to use the workshop to make notes for a short essay to express what they learn.
  • FALL: Essays are to be submitted online by August 7 and winners will be announced on AUGUST 19. Essay winners, including first, second and third place, will win cash prizes of $1000, $500 and $250. The three winners will be offered a free registration to the ACI-NA annual conference, where they will be recognized on stage at ACI-NA's conference the second week of September and presented with their awards.


ELIGIBILTY: Participation is open to the first 25 Young Professionals who register. Those under 40 years of age who are employees of ACI-NA member airports and service companies are eligible. You'll be asked to commit to reading the book, participating in the July discussion of the lessons and writing a 500/700 word essay.

PARTICIPANTS: Submit your essay here

Meet our Judges


Are you under 40 and an aviation Young Professional? Any questions about this project, contact Tom Murphy, Director, Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University at

In September 2021 a "pilot" for this resiliency project was offered to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. For background on how the success of that pilot has led to this expansion, see this ABC News clip, also return to the HOME page.