Artifacts Tell Story of a Life Dedicated to Service

Artifacts Tell Story of a Life Dedicated to Service

Lieutenant cap and service pins worn by Alfred Gilles Padre Joseph Marchand. (Photo by Jin Lee)

Flying was a second career for Alfred Gilles Padre Joseph Marchand. Before becoming a United Airlines flight attendant, he served 21 years as a police officer for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, working his way up the ranks and retiring as a lieutenant. The 9/11 Memorial Museum curators installed the lieutenant’s cap and service pins he wore in the museum’s memorial exhibition.

The items were donated by his wife, Rebecca Marchand, who told museum curators, "He loved serving people, he was a real servant."

While still a police officer in late 2000, he clicked on a pop-up ad that said "become a flight attendant" while surfing the Internet. Drawn to the promise of travel, adventure, and an attractive benefits package, he accepted a position as a United Airlines flight attendant. Within weeks he started training and was up in the air for the first time in January 2001.
Afred Marchand in his public safety uniform. Marchand was based at Logan International Airport in Boston, Mass. He flew home to see his wife and their three sons in New Mexico as frequently as he could. His family supported the change, despite the long commute.

"He loved his job so much," his wife said, "He loved meeting different people. He loved his colleagues—and traveling. He just loved being on the go."

On the morning of September 11, 2001, after spending the weekend together in the Boston area, Marchand escorted his wife to her departure gate at Logan Airport, kissed her, and said, "Well, I guess this is goodbye."

His wife's last memory of him is watching him skip down the terminal to report for work on United Flight 175. Hours later, his hijacked flight crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

By Jenny Pachucki, 9/11 Memorial Content Strategist