On August 21, Paul “Paulie” Veneto, 62, will begin the 220-mile march from Logan International Airport in Boston to Ground Zero in New York City.
However, he won’t just walk. Veneto, a former flight attendant from Braintree, Massachusetts, will push a beverage cart the entire way to honor his colleagues who died 20 years ago in the 9/11 attacks.
“They were heroes,” Veneto told Fox News. “They were the first, the first responders of 9/11… and they should be recognized like that.”
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The inspiration for the trip, which Veneto calls Paulie’s Push, comes from “common sense,” he said.
“I’m not going to walk to New York – people walk, people run… what are the flight attendants doing?” said Veneto. “Everyone knows what a flight attendant does, they push a beverage cart down the aisle.”
The cart that Veneto pushes has American Airlines and United Airlines flight numbers on the sides, with photos of the crew and flight attendants on the top, so “I look at them every day,” a- he declared.
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Veneto was a United Airlines flight attendant at the time of the attacks and even worked on Flight 175. He said he knew many of the deceased crew members.
“Every birthday that came, I thought of them,” Veneto said.
Veneto often thinks of how flight attendants reacted to attacks, calling for ground control and cheering on passengers.
“These crew members, they came together under extraordinary conditions,” said Veneto. “It was America.”
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After 9/11, Veneto said he struggled for many years with an opioid addiction, eventually becoming sober in 2015, according to his website. However, he told Fox he didn’t want his recovery trip to “overshadow” the primary focus of his walk from Boston to New York.
“I am so grateful that I was able to change my life… And now I am able to do what I do,” he said.
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Veneto said he was happy to be able to draw attention to the heroism of flight attendants after “what we’ve all been through,” with the coronavirus pandemic and political tensions of the past year and a half.
“It’s not all of that,” he said. “Right now it’s, [let’s] recognize these guys. And I hope the rest of us can all get along. “