About Us


American Pride, Inc. is the results of years of friendship, collaboration, and a shared sense of mission of two 9/11 Attack Survivors and a talented artist, the son of a Korean War veteran.

Survivors of the 9/11 Attacks, one who was on a temporary work assignment to World Trade Center One on the day of the Attack, and the other, an Army officer 14 months into a 3-year assignment in the Pentagon, found in the months and years after they had to share their stories of survival, providence, sadness, and redemption as a means of healing and to help others understand what that day was about.

You see, if you were alive on September 11, 2001, you survived the 9/11 Attacks.

What Don Bacso and Ryan Yantis, had in common was their proximity to the Attacks.

They were there, in New York and the Pentagon, respectively. They endured, they survived, and lived to share their story.

Since meeting in 2004 at a gathering of other survivors, Don and Ryan did what many other survivors have done. When asked to speak about the 9/11 Attack and the hours, days, and time that followed, they honored the requests and spoke at events across the country. They gave speeches at Remembrance events, talks to schools, colleges, and academies, church and community groups. Sometimes they were supported with honorariums or a meal, other times compensated with travel and lodging, but always at a cost – in time from families, away from work and other obligations.

With the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks approaching, Don and Ryan sought ways to focus on what many consider to be a life-long mission of helping the American people who were not there that day to better understand the service, sacrifice, and dedication of the First Responders, our military and veterans, and everyday people who stepped forward to make a difference. They wanted a mechanism to help them help others to learn, heal, and move forward.

Meanwhile Mark Paul John, an independent artist and friend of Don’s, was making and presenting Art (Picture) for presentation to First Responders, military, and veterans across the country. He was doing so as a way of thanking those who step forward with their lives to help others, with his art as a means of inspiration and remembrance. As with Don and Ryan, Mark was supporting his outreach and engagement on his own, setting aside personal priorities to meet this obligation of honor.

In July 2014 they gathered at the Rockin’ for the Troops event in Wheaton, IL and set the stage for the formation of a non-profit organization to bring the events of that day to life, and to thank and support those who stepped forward (picture from Cantigny – us with the AP art)

American Pride, Inc., a not-for-profit educational effort, was formed later in 2014 to help accomplish these goals.

American Pride offers:

- Professional Speaking Engagements with WTC and Pentagon Survivors: Inspirational survivor accounts, speeches and presentations suitable for students, community groups, companies, corporations and others seeking to learn first-hand what that day was about, and what lessons we can carry forward to become better citizens.

- Informative and Inspirational Classes and Presentations: Engaging, thoughtful, detailed, and cohesive classes, discussions, and presentations on the events of that day suitably tailored for educational settings reaching from middle-school up to collegiate.

- Professional Art Presentations: With artist Mark Paul John, who engages directly with First Responders, military personnel, and veterans to provide inspirational art for their station houses, offices, and work spaces as a reminder of the appreciation so many have for them every day, and for the daunting obligations of service that they bear.

American Pride welcomes supporters to donate funds to support any and all of our outreach efforts – by sponsoring School Visits, scheduling a Speaking Engagement for suitable events, or by sponsoring Art To Our Heroes visits.


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