GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- An American Airlines flight attendant and a 14-year-old boy who would’ve been a toddler at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks are among the victim family members watching this week’s 9/11 proceedings at the war court.
The military on Monday was not naming the victim family members who were brought to this remote base by charter flight on the weekend. Some were chosen by Pentagon lottery, others came as companions.
But Army Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale explained why a woman among them came to court in the attire of an American Airlines flight attendant: “She wanted to wear her uniform to show support for all of the flight crews lost on 9/11, and to remind them that she is thinking of them today.”
She works for American, the colonel said, adding he had no information on her relationship to a victim among the 2,976 people killed in the terror attacks that struck the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001.
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Two of the four flights commandeered by al-Qaida hijackers in the attacks belonged to American. One struck the World Trade Center and the other slammed into the Pentagon. The other two were United Airlines jetliners.
Victims of the al-Qaida attacks have carried photos of their dead kin to the Guantánamo court and worn military insignia. Monday marked the first time flight attendants were memorialized specifically. It also marked the first time a child was in attendance.
There’s no age limit on who a victim can choose as a family member companion, Breasseale said. But the Pentagon seeks assurances from parents that they understand a child brought to Guantánamo could hear troubling things.
The victims are drawn from a pool of people who volunteer to the office of the Pentagon’s war crime prosecutor to view the proceedings at Guantánamo and are given the individual choice of whether to release their identities to the media. None have so far this week.