I became involved with ACCESS for the worst possible reason. My wife, Rosie Braman, was killed in the explosion of TWA 800. Rosie was a flight attendant for TWA, had been for 19 years. She was not scheduled to fly 800 that night, but was what the industry euphemistically (and ironically) calls “dead heading.” That means she was an employee not working the flight, but “commuting” to join another. As always, I asked her that morning what flight number she was flying on. Only half awake, she reminded me that she was on her way to Rome. I made a mental note of it and kissed her good-bye. Actually I never said good-bye to her. I preferred saying, “Come home safely to me.” To which she responded, “I always do”. I mistakenly thought that little ritual would keep her safe. It didn’t.
Later in the day she called to tell me the Rome flight was cancelled and that she would be flying to Paris to pick up the returning Rome flight. Again I asked the flight number, she told me “800”. “Okay,” I said, “Have a safe trip. Come home safely to me.” She once again replied, “I always do. It was the last time we spoke. The anguish and grief that followed in the aftermath of that event have been chronicled many times through the hundreds of stories of others who lost loved ones that night.
For me it was too personal, and it took me well over a year to accept that Rosie’s story was just one of them. I attended one support group meeting made up of people who lost loved ones on 800, and there, briefly, met Heidi Snow. Months later I read about her formation of the previously named Air Crash Support Network. I thought it was a wonderful concept and made a small donation. Not long afterward, it occurred to me that the best tribute I could make to Rosie’s memory was to help others. That was her legacy. Through ACCESS, I have been able to keep that legacy alive, and in so doing keep her memory alive as well.
In the simplest of terms, ACCESS represents people with broken hearts helping people with broken hearts. It is a human endeavor that has been played out throughout the history of civilization. This compassion and understanding provides ACCESS with its focus and is the basis for our appeal to volunteers and contributors alike. Thank you for helping me fulfill the legacy that has been entrusted to me. Thank you for your contributions and support.
Stewart Mosberg lost his wife Rosie on TWA Flight 800
ACCESS Chairman, 2000