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Personal Strategies for Approaching the 14th Annv of September 11th, 2001
Posted On: Sep 10, 2015



From Your AFA EAP

Here we are, fourteen years after. We don’t need to ask ’after what?’ We all remember. Like life in general, fourteen years can seem like an eternity and, at the same time, like the blink of an eye.

Looking back, how many of us would have predicted the resiliency that our profession has shown since September 11, 2001?  Resiliency, the positive capacity to cope with and adapt to stress and adversity, sometimes means returning to a previous state of functioning. But for Flight Attendants, returning to the familiar was not an option. As we watched the events of that day unfold, we knew that our industry and our profession had changed forever. But where and how did our profession find a new way to cope?

As our numbness cleared in the months that followed, we reached inward to our own professionalism and outward to our flying partners to begin shaping our new norm. From the scars of September 11th, our profession found its voice.

Resilient populations believe that they have the power to take action that will positively affect their situation and their future—that they have an “internal locus of control.” The power of resiliency isn’t a trait; it is the result of taking action. Fighting for enhanced security training, certification, and safer working conditions are examples of our resiliency. Our ability to pick up the pieces and take control, however, relies on our ability to heal. Anniversaries offer an opportunity for healing—a time for acknowledging our memories and experiences; for connecting with others who share in them, and for paying tribute to our individual and collective journeys.

Whether you mark this September 11th with private personal gestures such as observing a moment of silence, spending quiet time reflecting, dedicating your flying to our profession, or with collective activities such as ceremonies and memorial services, know that there is no right or better way to recognize the anniversary. The following are some suggestions that may prove helpful as we approach the anniversary of September 11th:

  • Observe the anniversary in a way that’s comfortable for you. Say “no” to events or activities that you sense may flood you with too many feelings. 
  • Don’t compare yourself to how others around you appear to be dealing with the September 11th anniversary.
  • Acknowledge that we all heal at different rates, in different ways, and with different outcomes.
  • Give yourself permission and time to be affected.  Though uncomfortable, anticipate and plan for having a stress reaction as the anniversary approaches.  Trust that if you have moments of difficulty, you’ll be able to pull yourself back together.
  • Try not to isolate. Isolation can often amplify difficult feelings.  Pre-plan now to be with family or friends if you know you have this tendency.
  • Think through in advance how much and the type of anniversary media coverage you can comfortably absorb. Actively monitor and control what news coverage enters your personal space.
  • If you are interested in attending scheduled anniversary events, check local community websites .  You can  plan your own commemorative good deed for the day or volunteer with others at activities listed at
  • Ask for help, support, and opportunities to talk.  Your AFA EAP is here to listen.  Telephone numbers of your local EAP committee members are listed at under the EAP Section or on your local council website. You can also call the AFA EAP at 1-800-424-2406.

Whether you choose to fly on this anniversary or to recognize the day in another way, know that you are part of a Flight Attendant population that celebrates resiliency. 

Your AFA EAP is here to support you. We are Members helping Members.

In tribute to all first responders,



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Personal Strategies for Approaching the 14th Annv of September 11th, 2001
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