We Will Fly Again
is no tough-guy boast or irrational bragging or a rhetorical flourish.
This is a simple, quiet statement of fact.
will fly again.
will fly again because our lives and our livelihoods depend on it.
We will fly again because there is something deep in the American
psyche, some distant distillation of Manifest Destiny, that compels
us to travel and explore. We will fly again because, when you think
about it, flying is the ultimate expression of our free society
and everything we cherish.
we will fly again because that is exactly what the terrorists don't
want us to do.
aim of terrorists is to frighten us and to get our attention. The
goal of terrorism is to create havoc, inflict grievous bodily harm,
destroy property and disrupt our security. The purpose of terror
is to generate publicity for its cause.
won all those battles Tuesday with their horrific hijackings and
inconceivable use of passenger jets as weapons. There are no words
to adequately describe the fear and the death and the havoc the
terrorists have caused. Hundreds of our fellow flyers are dead and
thousands more have died. The financial toll will be in the billions
and our economic system will be shaken, buildings are gone, lives
are destroyed, and America will never be the same again.
terrorism has still another goal: to change the pattern and the
fabric of our daily lives. That is the war. Terrorists want to make
us live our lives a different way because, if we change the way
we live our daily lives, they win.
is the war we cannot allow terrorism to win. That is why we will
I use the word "we" too cavalierly. Because, no matter
how well we know each other, I guess I have no right to speak for
anyone but myself.
flew on Sunday and am sitting at my laptop in a hotel room in San
Francisco on Wednesday afternoon because the airport were closed
this morning and my flight was cancelled. But I will fly tomorrow
if the airports are open and my flight is operating. I won't let
the terrorists tell me how to live my life, where I can go, and
whether I can fly.
am afraid, because you cannot see what you have seen on television
these past 2 hours and not be afraid, I am angry, because I am New
Yorker and some lunatics have ripped a hole in my city. I am furious,
because I am an American and these shadowy bastards have attacked
my capital and my country. I am a frequent flyer, and these people
have assaulted my life and my livelihood. I am despondent, because
I have lost friends and acquaintances in this tragedy. And I am
deep in mourning because there are no degrees of separation in this
catastrophe. Anyone's loss is my loss.
I will fly again because I can't imagine a world where terrorism
wins this war.
and I have been together in this little slice of cyberspace for
almost four years now. On some levels, we have talked about all
this many times before. About the fear and the doubt that we stuff
at the bottom of our carry-on bag because this is what we do. About
the lies we tell ourselves and our families about the danger. About
the bravado we practice and the studious denials we adopt like armor
to get us through another day, another flight, another tragedy.
have written that every crash diminishes us. I have written that
every one of us knows that we fly, and, sometimes, some of us die.
But I have no snappy catchphrases as I sit here in a hotel room
in San Francisco waiting to fly, wanting to fly, because I can't
think of any other way to tell the terrorists they may win some
battles, but they cannot win the war.
point of absolute fact, all I can tell you is what I know for myself:
I will fly again. And all I can tell you what I believe after four
years of talking with you and swapping tales: We all will fly again.
while we wait, go do something life affirming. Find your good book
and search for comfort. Pray. Hug your friends and families. Cry
if you must. Smile if you can. Remember our fellow flyers and the
innocent New Yorkers and Washingtonians who died yesterday.
I'm flying tomorrow. It's not a boast or a brag or a rhetorical
flourish. It's a simple, quiet statement of fact.
Copyright 2001 by Joe Brancatelli