Reclaiming the Sky: 9/11 and the Untold Story of the Men and Women Who Kept America Flying

Reclaiming the Sky: 9/11 and the Untold Story of the Men and Women Who Kept America Flying

by Tom Murphy


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Reclaiming the Sky: 9/11 and the Untold Story of the Men and Women Who Kept America Flying by Tom Murphy

When asked about the death toll from the September 11th attacks, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani stated simply and eloquently that the number would likely be "more than any of us can bear." He was right, of course. Yet often obscured in that inconceivable number is the fact that among those who died, as well as those who lived and continue to live, were many thousands of aviation professionals with names, families, lives, and individual experiences that are an important part of the 9/11 story.

Some five years later, these stories are being told for the first time in Reclaiming the Sky.

In the pages of this book, you will meet some of the people whose hard work propels a critical social and economic force -- the aviation industry -- and who on the morning of September 11th, were suddenly thrust into front-line positions in the battle to put our nation back on its feet. For many of these men and women and their families, the pain and after-effects of 9/11 are exceptionally acute, but their stories will serve as touchpoints for the thousands of people whose journey to closure is still ongoing.

This powerful and ultimately uplifting book not only honors the heroes of September 11th, it also offers common ground to those in search of meaning and purpose in a changed world -- both in and outside of the air travel industry -- and gives Americans in all walks of life something they still seek five years after 9/11: the courage and strength to move forward.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814409091
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 09/05/2006
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.75(h) x 0.63(d)
Age Range: 15 Years

About the Author

Tom Murphy has been an aviation industry trainer for more than twenty years. He is currently president of The Service Institute, whose Airport Ambassador Program offers training, incentives and promotion to help airport professionals meet and exceed the needs of air travelers. For the last few years, he has focused primarily on helping thousands of aviation professionals and their families in the wake of the September 11th attacks. He lives in Bellingham, Washington, and can be reached through this book’s companion website, The author’s profits from all sales of Reclaiming the Sky will go to aviation-related charities, including the WINGS Foundation and the CAUSE Foundation which support American and United Airlines flight attendants.

Table of Contents

"Introduction: THE KENNIFER BENCH 1

Book One That Day 7

Chapter One THE GLORY DAYS 9

Chapter Two SUE 15


Chapter Four JOHN 28

Chapter Five KATHRYN 37


Chapter Seven SUE 46


Chapter Nine MARK AND STEVE 63

Chapter Ten TERRI 69

Book Two After That Day 75


Chapter Twelve TOM 84

Chapter Thirteen SUE 88

Chapter Fourteen ONEKA, SUE, AND BERNIE 94


Chapter Sixteen THE FIRST STEP 109


Chapter Seventeen KATHRYN AND CHIC 117

Chapter Eighteen JOHN, ANNE, AND MARIANNE 125

Chapter Nineteen ANNE 130

Chapter Twenty MARK, JOAN, AND STEVE 134

Chapter Twenty-One UNSUNG HEROES 142

Chapter Twenty-Two DIRT THERAPY 149

Chapter Twenty-Three DO WHAT YOU LOVE 155

Book Four WHY WE FLY 165

Chapter Twenty-Four THE SPACE 167

Chapter Twenty-Five CAPTAIN OBVIOUS 175

Chapter Twenty-Six LETTING GO 184

Chapter Twenty-Seven KENNIFER’S BENCH 192

Chapter Twenty-Eight RECLAIMINGTHESKY.COM 201

Epilogue 209"

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"I covered the awful World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 and haven't been on an airplane since. But after reading Tom Murphy's beautifully written, and powerfully told tale of the daily courage of those who keep America airborne I want to run for the boarding gate. Reclaiming the Sky is a compelling, economical and important book about those unsung men and women who have the right stuff in a dark time."

— Denis Hamill, New York Daily News columnist and author of Fork in the Road and Ten Spot

"The myth of our separateness in this life is pervasive, but it is never more a myth than when applied to the community of people who work in and around the great air transportation system of the United States. While 9/11 was a Pearl Harbor-class attack on our nation, it was an even more grievous attack on the aviation community, and the extreme pain and post traumatic stress radiating in all directions and affecting so many — friends, family, kindred workers, and those who we knew only by association — has vibrated silently, until now. Reclaiming the Sky is an important work of compassion and connectedness, a reaffirmation of the human spirit and the determination that kept an industry of great passion alive in its darkest hour."

— John J. Nance, Veteran Airline Captain for Alaska Airlines and Braniff Airlines, and NY Times bestselling author of many books, including Orbit, Pandor’s Clock, and Medusa’s Child

"A fitting tribute to the quiet heroes who helped get this country started again after it was so abruptly stopped on 9/11."

— Doug McCormick, former President of iVillage and Lifetime Television

"Reclaiming the Sky is filled with good stories I had not heard and things I did not know. It should be required reading for anyone who is serious about defending America."

— John Westermann, ex-cop, author of Exit Wounds"

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