Capt. Prater’s Statement on the 9th Anniversary of 9-11

Sept. 11, 2010. The members of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, hardly need reminding that today is the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States of America that used four airliners as weapons of mass destruction. Nine years after 9/11, memories of that terrible day remain fresh and raw, and we continue to grieve for our friends, colleagues, and loved ones who perished. Many memorial services will take place throughout our great and resilient nation, and I hope you will be able to participate in them.

As we reflect on 9/11 and the effect it has had on our lives, our families, and our careers, it’s important to remember that men and women of character—such as our members—will create good out of even the most bitter and terrible events in their lives. We will also never forget the extreme kindness and generosity of our Canadian brothers and sisters who helped our members who were diverted to Canada.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, ALPA members and leaders resolved to do whatever is necessary to make sure such terrorist attacks on our aircraft, our airlines, our industry, and our nation never happen again. And though more remains to be done, we have made great strides in nine years.

The Honorable Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, noted last week during her remarks at ALPA’s Air Safety Forum that the threat is real, and continues. The Christmas 2009 “underwear bomber” was proof of that, and provided another wakeup call to our industry and government agencies in many countries that more must be done to stay one step ahead of those who would do us harm. But Secretary Napolitano also noted that ALPA has been directly involved in several major improvements to aviation security and continues to be a valued partner of DHS.

When I look out the window of my Herndon office, I am awed by the sight of the large standing stones that form the ALPA 9/11 Memorial. The stones were quarried near the site in Shanksville, Pa., where United Flight 93 crashed nine years ago tomorrow. Their solid, unmoving presence is a symbol of our unyielding resolve and dedication to make our skies more secure.

We shall never forget.