FORT WORTH –– It was a homecoming of sorts Thursday at American Airlines. Two pins belonging to crewmembers of American Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon on September 11 were returned to the airline.
American employees and crewmembers showed deep gratitude in accepting these two pins at a ceremony the CR Smith Museum.
In nearly pristine condition, they were pulled from the wreckage of American Flight 77.
“To have them found and have them found in such remarkable condition and have them returned really is incredibly touching to all of us,” said Laura Glading, President of the Professional Association of Flight Attendants.
The death toll at the Pentagon was 125. Sixty-four people died on board, including six crewmembers.
The director of the USO at Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware, where remains and effects are processed, noticed the pins in a display case a year-and-a-half ago and began an effort to bring them back to American.
“I looked at them and I went to the commander and said, ‘Sir, I think I have a feeling that American doesn’t even know that these exist. So, would you mind if I took a picture and sent it to my friends at American?’ And of course, within minutes, my phone was ringing off the hook,” said Joan Cote with the USO in Dover.
The Department of Defense has strict rules that it must match an item to a family in order to release it. In this case, it’s not known which crewmembers the pins actually belonged to. But the government made an exception in returning the pins to the airline.
Employees say, that’s family enough.