For Paul Veneto, the time is now. The former flight attendant is preparing to honor the friends and colleagues he lost in the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
"There is a drive that I am feeling, when I open my eyes in the morning," the 63-year-old said.
NBC10 Boston first met Veneto last year as he prepared to push a beverage cart, just like the one he pushed all those years ago in an airplane, from Boston Logan International Airport to the site of Ground Zero. Veneto called his effort "Paulie's Push," with the goal of remembering and honoring the pilots and crew aboard the four flights that were hijacked on 9/11.
"Everybody was affected by 9/11. Everybody. Even people that were not born were affected," he said.
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
Back in 2001, Veneto was a Boston-based flight attendant working for United Airlines. On Sept. 10, 2001, he worked a flight back home from Los Angeles. The next day, on 9/11, that same airplane — UA Flight 175, bound for LA — was one of four planes hijacked.
Veneto, like so many, still struggles with that day.
"I am picturing these guys that I knew, their faces, because I did that trip so many times, for years," he said.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Veneto left Weymouth on Tuesday, and on Thursday morning, he will leave Dulles Airport in Virginia, walking to the Pentagon to honor those aboard American Airlines Flight 77. He plans to arrive at the Pentagon this Sunday, on Sept. 11.
The mission is the same as last year.
"These crew members deserve to be recognized as American heroes," he said. "No question about it."
Last year's 200-plus-mile walk from Boston to Ground Zero was not easy. Veneto is inspired, though, by those he met along the way, and by those who shared memories of loved ones lost.
He knows the feeling all too well.
"There is a drive that I am feeling, when I open my eyes in the morning," he said. "If it was rainy, or whatever, my legs were hurt, I would look at their pictures on top of the cart and I would think to myself, 'Who am I to complain?'"