MEC President's Speech, September 11, 2018, Flight 93 Memorial
September 12, 2018
Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,
My name is Ken Diaz, and I'm President of The Association of Flight Attendants United Airlines Master Executive Council. I'm honored to be with you today, and to speak on behalf of our Flight Attendant Union. At today's Memorial Observance, we join all Americans who are paying tribute, and recognizing the astonishing acts of heroism the nation witnessed in the skies and on the ground, on the morning of September 11, 2001.
As we do so, we continue to keep our pledge, made on that heartbreaking day, 17 years ago, to honor their memories for the rest of our lives. Words cannot describe the feelings we experienced, the moment our world shattered irreparably, upon learning that Commercial Airliners had been hijacked, and were now being used to commit horrendous acts of terror. Our AFA United family was struck very gravely on that day, losing many of our finest Flight Attendants, Pilots, United employees, friends, and family members. This, coupled with the staggering loss of life on the ground, of our fellow Americans, was more than we thought we could bear.
A promise was made and distilled into a mere four words; We Will Never Forget. But, within those few simple words, lies an unwritten vow, that carries great responsibility and commitment. The deeper meaning of our pledge far exceeds a vague promise "never to forget." They are owed so much more than mere, passing remembrance. Our colleagues and loved ones who fell victim to inconceivably savage acts of brutality on that day, were part of the very fabric of our lives, and with heartbreaking swiftness and cruelty, they were torn from us, leaving behind such gaping holes in our lives and our hearts, we didn't know if we could continue, the pain and grief were so unbearable.
We will not allow the sacred memory of those precious people, to suffer the indignity of allowing their sacrifices to be forgotten. Nor will we forget their courage and determination to prevent ever more death and destruction, by confronting and thwarting the heinous plans of monstrously evil men. We are so heavily indebted to our September 11, heroes, we could never repay them.
However, we CAN do something for those martyred for the cause of defending innocent life. We can ensure that their lives were not lost in vain. We engraved four words permanently upon our hearts. In order to live up to them, we will do everything in our power to prevent this from ever happening again. In closing, I'd like to leave you with these words from the late wife of Flight 93 Captain, Jason Dahl, “If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and that there is no time for hate.” May we all live by such wise words, engraving them upon our hearts as well. Thank you.
American Airlines Flight 11 Captain John Ogonowski, First Officer Thomas McGuinness,
Flight Attendants Barbara Arestequi, Jeffrey Collman, Sara Low, Karen, Martin, Kathleen Nicosia, Betty Ong, Jean Roger, Dianne Snyder, Madeline Sweeney
United Airlines Flight 93 Captain Jason Dahl, First Officer Leroy Homer,
Flight Attendants Lorraine Bay, Sandra Bradshaw, Wanda Green, CeeCee Lyles, Deborah Welsh
American Airlines Flight 77 Captain Charles Burlingame, First Officer David Charlebois,
Flight Attendants Michele Heidenberger, Jennifer Lewis, Kenneth Lewis, Renee May
United Airlines Flight 175 Captain Victor Saracini, First Officer Michael Horrocks,
Flight Attendants Robert Fangman, Amy Jarret, Amy King, Kathryn Laborie, Alfred Marchand, Michael Tarrou, Alicia Titus, Customer Service Reps Marianne MacFarlane, Jesus Sanchez
AFA-CWA United Master Executive Council