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Thoughts on 9/11, five years laterThoughts on 9/11, five years later

Thoughts on 9/11, five years later

By Phil Boyer

Five years after the September 11 attacks, how have we changed, what have we learned?

Aviation has always clinically analyzed its tragedies, never dwelled on them. As horrific as they are - and as badly as we feel for the victims and their families - we always try to learn from them, to always pull something good from the awful.

So I have asked myself, what good can we find today from those awful times five years ago?

9/11 taught us that our fellow citizens are extraordinarily brave, open-hearted, resourceful, resilient, tireless, intelligent, and possessed with good sense.

That given the slightest chance, most Americans will not only do the right thing, they'll exceed your grandest expectations. And the pilot community is no different.

As individuals, as citizens, as a nation, we refused to give in to the terrorists. We adapted, we changed, but we kept what is basic. We kept on living and reflected what it is and means to be an American.

And we kept flying.

Admittedly the flight training industry has yet to recover, in part because the rules intended to bar terrorists have made it much harder for all foreign students.

But overall, general aviation flying has returned to pre-9/11 levels. In most parts of the country, we're flying pretty much the way we always have.

It's because of you that we are.

AOPA has been the voice of reason and sometimes the shout of righteous indignation, but you have given us the breath to talk and to yell.

Standing with us, 408,000 of you have helped demonstrate again and again, that we pilots are sincere, dedicated, and concerned about our passions - flying and our country.

You've demonstrated again and again that we can be counted upon to do the right thing, and that we stand together to demand that those who serve us do the right thing as well.

You have heeded the call to take personal responsibility for our national welfare, and embraced Airport Watch, becoming part of our security infrastructure. You've followed the rules, even when they're senseless, and worked responsibly to help change them.

Standing together, we have made a difference.

We will never forget the tragedy of 9/11. Let us always remember what it has taught us about ourselves.

September 11, 2006

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