Two Decades Later, Families of Flight Attendants Continue Their Contributions to the Greater Good of Others... Part Two
Written by: Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.
October 20, 2021
In the September issue of awareness@work, we discussed how families of victims of 9/11 made enormous contributions to the safety of travelers and the world at large. In this month’s article, we will discuss some of the work of Flight Attendant Jean Roger’s parents. Jean died on American Airlines Flight 11, September 11, 2001.
Flight Attendant Jean Roger’s father played a major role in the design of the 9/11 Memorial Museum and provides on-going leadership on the Board of Directors.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum was dedicated May 14, 2014, by President Barack Obama and the 9/11 Memorial Chairman, Michael R. Bloomberg. Tom Roger, father of Flight Attendant Jean Roger who died on American Flight 11, the first flight to go down that day was involved in designing the Memorial from the very beginning. Tom joined the Foundation’s 2006 Symposium in Atlanta and shared early drawings of the Memorial design. He also shared details about his experience the day of the tragedy, including his interactions with the American Airlines Care Team.
Jean was standing by that day for an international flight until a flight attendant scheduled to work Flight 11 called in sick.
The morning of September 11, Tom watched the events unfold, never once thinking his daughter was involved. Jean had been flying for eighteen months, after graduating from Pennsylvania State University. Jean was standing by that day for an international flight until a flight attendant scheduled to work Flight 11 called in sick. At that point, Jean was assigned to work the flight in her place.
Tom and his family’s worst fears were confirmed when Jean’s boyfriend called in a panic. Unable to reach Jean, after he learned that an American flight was missing, Jean’s boyfriend of 18 months felt certain that she was involved, and placed a call to her father.
Shortly after the confirmation of Jean’s involvement in the unspeakable tragedy, Tom and his family were assisted by the American Airlines Care Team. Tom later spoke very highly of the support and help the employees and the entire airline provided for their family.
It was not long after the tragedy before Tom realized that he could use his professional skills as an architect to help create a memorial to honor his daughter and all of those who died in the September 11 tragedy. Tom is featured on our video Integrating the Losses, released in 2006, where he shares early drawings of the memorial. Tom shared that it was a Care Team member who told him about a 9/11 group who he later joined with to begin design on the Memorial.
About the Memorial
“No day shall erase you from the memory of time”—speaks to the Museum’s promise to remember the 2,983 lives lost on 9/11 and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The museum's core exhibitions are located within the authentic site of the World Trade Center. The core exhibits are located inside the footprints of the North and South Towers. The memorial exhibits in the South Tower footprint commemorates the 2,983 victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and includes the six victims of the 1993 bombing.
At bedrock, visitors encounter two monumental spaces: Memorial Hall and Foundation Hall. In Memorial Hall, located between the footprints of the original Twin Towers, two site-specific artworks are on view. A quotation forged from recovered World Trade Center steel by artist and blacksmith Tom Joyce—“No day shall erase you from the memory of time”—speaks to the Museum’s promise to remember the 2,983 lives lost on 9/11 and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
In addition to the on-going leadership of the Memorial Museum, Jean’s parents Tom and Eileen began additional activities to help others in Jean’s honor. The Roger's along with other families of victims, pressured Congress to mandate reinforced cockpit doors, stricter hiring and training for baggage screeners and deployment of Air Marshals—all within three months after the attacks.
Other ways Jean’s parents turned their grief into opportunities for helping others include a day of community service to mark 9/11 and remember their daughter. Started in 2004, the day has featured blood drives, field clean-ups and building projects, all activities that Jean Roger would have been happy to join, according to her father. Additional contributions appearing in the press during the twenty-year anniversary included raising funds for scholarships in Jean’s name and money to purchase art for display at the Memorial Museum.
About the video: Integrating the Losses
This video, released in 2006 includes interviews with family members of American Airlines Flight Attendants, Jean Roger and Betty Ann Ong who died on Flight 11, 2001. Betty’s sister, Cathie Ong Herrera and Jean’s father, Tom Roger reflect over what helped them in the initial phase of the tragedy and the five years since.
The video also shows family members of two victims of ValuJet Flight 592, May 11, 1996, and TWA Flight 800, July 17 of the same year. ValuJet family members include Susan and the late Paul Smith, parents of Jay Smith and George “AL” Griner, father of Mark Griner who perished along with a total of 110 passengers and crew members. From TWA Flight 800, parents of Chrisha and Brenna Siebert, Helen and Larry speak out about their experiences. Chrisha and Brenna were traveling to Paris with their first cousin Stephanie Gaetke and her husband, Daniel Gaetke. They all died along with a total of 230 passengers and crew.
For more about the Foundation and how you can download a copy of the video Integrating the Losses, and learn about other programs, please contact Cheri Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at fafonline.org.