FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – It was a long, tragic journey home for a set of American Airlines flight attendant wings and pin. The items were found in the rubble after terrorists crashed flight 77 into the Pentagon on 9/11.
On Thursday, more than a dozen years later, they were presented at American’s CR Smith Museum in Fort Worth, where they are currently on display.
“It just helps you to know they have not been forgotten,” said Cathie Ong, who flew to Texas from California to attend the ceremony.
Her sister Betty was the lead flight attendant on American Flight 11, which crashed into the the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
“It’s a symbol that brings all of the flight crews together. Iit hasn’t been identified, so it really belongs to all of us,” said Ong.
Retired American Captain Marc Flagg has a very personal connection to the flight wings and pin. Both his mother and father were passengers on the ill-fated flight 77.
“To see the wings coming back, it’s like something coming out of the ashes. It’s something new being re-born,” said Flagg.
The President of American’s flight attendants union, Laura Glading said the discovery of the wings and pin moved her to tears. “Even 12 and a half years later, our hearts are broken.”
Glading said she was amazed the pin and wings are in such good condition, especially given where they ended up in the rubble.
She said they are an important symbol. “You put those wings on, and you become a whole different person. A union pin signifying our love and support for one another, our unity.”
The wings and pin may have never returned here were it not for Joan Cote, Director of the USO in Delaware. She discovered them nearly two years ago among some unclaimed items from the Pentagon crash.
She made it her mission to make sure they were returned to American Airlines.
“I could feel the crew members, they were there. I happen to be Catholic, it was profound for me, and I was telling them, I hear you, and I’m bringing you home to your family, home where they belong,” said Cote.
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