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.