CHICAGO – Tom McGuinness was 14 on September 11, 2001. His father, also named Tom, went to work that day as a pilot for American Airlines. He was the first officer on American Airlines Flight 11 when it took off from Boston to Los Angeles.
At the start of the flight, the hijackers requisitioned the plane and flew it into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, the first strike of a terrorist attack that reverberates to this day.
Two decades later, the 14-year-old is now also a pilot for American Airlines based in Chicago. While young McGuinness declined a request for an interview from WGN News, he shared his thoughts in a public message to other Airmen on the Allied Pilots Association website.
“The way our country came together, the way our crews treated each other and our passengers, and the way my father lived his life are all shining examples of what we want to remember this weekend, “McGuinness said in the post.
He remembered his father as an accomplished Navy aviator who retired as a Top Gun Tomcat pilot who always put his family and his faith first in life.
“As we remember our own stories this weekend, take a few minutes and be thankful for what we have. For those with children, spend time showing them examples of compassion and kindness. This type of memory would honor our pilots and exemplify what my father stood for, ”McGuinness said in the post.
McGuinness said he hopes people won’t focus on the sadness of 9/11, but on the gifts of life.
“For those who are flying this weekend, thank you for staying alert and reminding your crews to never indulge in what could happen. Together we remember what happened on our plane 20 years ago, and we will never forget, ”he said.
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