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Personal Strategies for Managing the September 11th Remembrance

Date: August 25, 2022

Any kind of tragedy creates personal challenges not only on the date of the event but also for many years to follow. For some, remembering the events of September 11th continues to be a powerful reminder of our collective loss not only as a community of Flight Attendants but for our greater world community. In some instances, those who may have thought they had successfully put the events of that tragic day behind them, may suddenly find themselves experiencing unexpected anxiety or grief.

As we remember that date and those we lost in combination with the media replay of the events of that day may stir strong emotions and elicit difficult memories for many of us. While we have made a commitment to Never Forget the events of that day or those we lost, we’ve made an equal commitment to support each other as we do so. It is helpful to know, as we have in each of the prior years, there are ways to cope with these memories:

  • Observe September 11th in a way that’s comfortable for you.  Connecting safely with other people, getting involved in memorial activities and talking about the tragedy are all important coping strategies, but taking time to be by yourself – to think and reflect – can be helpful and healing as well.
  • Limit television and social media as much as possible. The visual images of the losses that day can prompt especially strong reactions.  Be prepared to take a digital vacation or frequent time-outs in and around September 11th to minimize or all together avoid these visual triggers.
  • If you start to feel overwhelmed, talk with a friend, family member, or your AFA EAP representatives. Often, talking about your fears and feelings is enough to relieve stress and realize that other people share your feelings. Taking care of yourself to ensure you meet your own personal needs is a sign of strength and self-awareness.
  • Recall other times you’ve experienced strong emotions. Identify which coping strategies have worked for you in the past, and use them.
  • Don’t compare yourself to how others around you appear to be dealing with the September 11th Remembrance.  Everyone experiences and copes with stress differently.  Try not to judge people’s emotions by their outside appearance.
  • If you have strong feelings that haven’t or won’t go away, seeking help from a professional may prove useful. Your AFA EAP can provide you with referrals.
  • Share this information with a flying partner who may be struggling with the upcoming anniversary.

In whatever way you choose to structure your day, this September 11th, or how it naturally unfolds on the date of the remembrance or in advance of it, please remember that your AFA EAP Committee representatives welcome being a part of it. We’re just a phone call away. Please call AFA EAP at 1-800-424-2406 for assistance. 

Your Local Council AFA EAP Committee representatives are listed at www.afacwa.org/eap. Once on that page, click on the link to Your Local EAP Rep (which is located in the top left corner of the page) for a full list of EAP Representatives by Local Council.

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