Shortly following the events of 9/11 an American Flight Attendant, Valerie Thompson, formed a foundation dedicated to the memory of the professionals who crewed American Airlines Flights 11 and 77 and United Airlines Flights 93 and 175. She and her husband, Dean, continued their vision for six years joined by numerous members of the aviation community and others. On July 4th 2008 the 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial was dedicated in Grapevine, Texas, just north of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
It is a bronze sculpture based on the design of Bryce Cameron Liston of Salt Lake City, Utah and sculpted by Dean Thompson. It is executed in the Grande style which is one and one half life size. The Memorial has five figures; two pilots, two flight attendants, and a child representing the traveling public. The figures are 14 feet high and with the base stand 18 feet. It is sited facing west on a compass rose. The figures stand on a single block of white Texas limestone. The names of the crew members of the 9/11 flights are engraved on slabs of granite surrounding the base.
The figures on the monument pay tribute to all flight crews — representing the valor, dedication, and awe-inspiring commitment that flight crews exhibit. These individuals place their lives on the line every flight and are never sure when they may be transformed from everyday citizens to heroes, catapulted into the pages of history. Here is a description of the monument from a sign posted nearby:
A stone column rises to support a large globe, symbolizing how the aviation industry spans the world. The impressive eagles, a national symbol of freedom, represent both airlines, American and United that lost flights that morning.
The Captain stands at the highest point, his copilot to his right, as it is on the airplane. The Captain is charged with the responsibility of protecting passengers, fellow crewmembers and the aircraft.
The First Officer is alert, his safety manual in hand, pointing to the western horizon, the intended destination of all four flights. Back-to-back placement of the Flight Attendants to the Cockpit Crew shows the teamwork of all flight crews, especially now — post 9/11.
The young girl with her teddy bear represents the traveling public. She is the family on their big vacation, the newlyweds on honeymoon, the grandmother on her very first flight, the weary businessman and unfortunately now… she is the soldier off to war.
The role best known by the general flying public is portrayed by the male Flight Attendant. He drapes a blanket around the small child. His duties show a commitment to passenger care and service.
Indicative of her role as a safety professional, the female Flight Attendant stands in the protected position: her hand held in the International sign for “stop”, shielding her passenger from harm.
Alongside the statue are stones from the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA as well as a piece of steel from the World Trade Center. It was very awe inspiring, and I got the goosies while standing there. I can only imagine what it must feel like to stand at Ground Zero.
I love strolling along the canals in Venice, CA and looking at the homes and some of the landscaping. There is usually not a lot of outdoor space, but here is a nice little patio where someone can sit outside and enjoy the mild weather. I bet those lanterns are pretty when they are lit at night.
I hope your weekend is pleasant and relaxing no matter where you spend it!
Next to the famed Muscle Beach are the basketball courts where you can shoot some hoops while being cooled by gentle sea breezes. The movie “White Men Can’t Jump” was filmed here. There weren’t any pick up games going on this day, but it was early.
A few miles to the north of the boardwalk in Venice is the world famous Santa Monica Pier. Those are the Santa Monica mountains in the background. We didn’t make it up there this time. It’s not too far a walk up there – but twice as far if you want to come back. 🙂
The folk who live in the waves call out to me-
“We sing from morning till night; on and on we travel and know
not where we pass.”
I ask, “But how am I to join you?”
They tell me, “Come to the edge of the shore and stand with
your eyes tight shut, and you will be carried out upon the waves.”
I say, “My mother always wants me at home in the everything-
how can I leave her and go?”
They smile, dance and pass by.
But I know a better game than that.
I will be the waves and you will be a strange shore.
I shall roll on and on and on, and break upon your lap with
And no one in the world will know where we both are.
~ Rabindranath Tagore from the poem “Clouds and Waves”
The city of Venice, CA forgot to check with me and find out which days I would be visiting before they decided to drain the canals for their Spring cleaning. Imagine that! That didn’t stop this family of 3 from taking an early morning boat trip. I don’t know how many times I have walked these canals, but this is the first time I have seen anyone actually paddling down them.
The pier in Venice, CA comes to life after a rainstorm.
(Taken with my Oly Pen-PL2 and the Dramatic Art setting.)