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Airline crew vows to 'take back the skies'

The U.S. flag aboard American Airlines Flight 975
The U.S. flag aboard American Airlines Flight 975  


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Dulles International Airport -- the point of origin for hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 during last week's terrorist attack -- was the scene of an emotional tribute Monday morning as pilots and crew members pledged to "take back the skies."

Led by First Officer Rich Williams, about 20 American Airlines crew members marched through the terminal with an American flag to the cheers and tears of passengers who were waiting in line at the airline's ticket counter.

After going through security, they took the flag to the airport's ramp and presented it to the pilots in American Airlines Flight 975 to Miami, Florida, lifting the flag up to the opened cockpit window.

"I would like to say to our passengers that at American Airlines, you are American Airlines. And without you, we won't exist. And without you, our country won't exist," Williams said.

"So, we need everybody to get out of their homes and go back to work and have trust in your fellow Americans. We are going to have to lean on each other. And let's do this, let's show them that we will not be terrorized anymore."

Williams, who initiated the flag ceremony, plans to have the flag fly to as many cities as possible in the coming weeks, being passed from jetliner to jetliner. The plane departed at 9 a.m. EDT from Dulles.

Last Tuesday, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked after leaving Dulles. It crashed into the Pentagon, killing all of its crew members and passengers.







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