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Area pilot attends ceremonies

September 12, 2011
DEANNE JOHNSON - Staff Writer , Salem News


Staff Writer

LISBON - Among those attending the remembrance ceremonies in both Lisbon and Wellsville on Sunday was a United Airline pilot from near Lisbon.

Captain John Dye said he always tries to get Sept. 11 off in order to attend ceremonies and remember the day which changed our country and the industry he works in.

His father was a pilot and took him flying when he was about 6 years old. Dye said there was nothing else he wanted to be. But his life and all of our lives changed after the hijackings.

"I never thought I would be behind a bulletproof door, carrying a 40-caliber weapon," Dye said.

He points out the two airlines lost 35 crew members on Sept. 11, 2001. The pilots and flight crews were the first people attacked when terrorists took over the planes. Two of the airplanes, the ones flown into the World Trade Center, were American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175. Dye flies the same type of plane, a Boeing 767.

Dye points out that in previous generations - his father who fought in the Pacific during World War II and an uncle who fought in the Battle of the Bulge - they knew the enemy and where to find them. Now thousands of Americans are battling a new type of enemy, someone who does battle in a different way.

Things, of course, also changed here at home.

"At the airlines, we're reminded every time we go to work," said Dye. "Our training was so different. Prior to that, who would have thought they would turn our planes into missiles."

Now there are air marshals on the flights to prevent something like what happened on Sept. 11 from happening again. But Dye also believes in those passengers riding behind him.

"I figure I've got 230 air marshals in the back," Dye said. "They're not going to sit back and let this happen again."

For Dye, he does not see the difference between the seven-year anniversary, the nine-year anniversary and the 10th. Each is another opportunity to remember those he knew and didn't know, members of the airline family, those flying in their care and those working in the buildings which were struck.

"I thought it was a very nice, well presented and touching ceremony," Dye said following the ceremony at the Columbiana County Fairgrounds Sunday afternoon. "In a way you look forward to it and in a way you hate to attend."

Dye did not participate in that service. Instead he stood quietly, alone near the fence. He later gave yellow roses representing the crews aboard those ill-fated United Airlines and American Airlines flights. The roses sat on a table near the quilts presented to veterans at the Columbiana County Fairgrounds on Sunday afternoon.

Dye also presented a red carnation at the memorial service for Cathy Salter in Wellsville later Sunday evening, saluting the firefighters in attendance, saluting Salter's memorial, placing his pilot hat over his chest and then placing the flower near the monument.



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