Monday, September 11, 2006

Flight 93: A Tale of Heroism and Courage

The story of United Flight 93 is inspiring and heart-breaking. Ordinary people, finding themselves in a desperate situation, decide to fight their oppressors with all they've got rather than submit meekly to their fate. In their daring effort they lose their own lives, but die as heroes rather than victims and save the White House or Capitol in the process. Their lives stand as an inspiration of heroism and courage to their fellow countrymen.

Todd Beamer
"Let's Roll"

Mark Bingham
Told his mom "I love you"

One of the early viewers of the Film "Flight 93" said that the film left him with a feeling of immense respect for the heroes of that flight.

The true story of Flight 93 is that it was a United flight that took off on the morning of September 11, 2001, from Newark International Airport en route to San Francisco, California. Unknown to 39 innocent passengers on that flight were four Muslim terrorists who planned to hijack the plane and use it as a missle to destroy either the White House or the Capitol Building in Washington. Had the plane taken off on time, their mission would undoubtedly have been accomplished. However, air traffic that morning was unusually heavy and Flight 93 took off 45 minutes late.

Tom Barnett
"We're going to do something"

Jeremy Glick
"The others and myself have voted
to attack the terrorists. I have
my butter knife from breakfast.".
When the hijackers revealed themselves and took control of the plane, the terrorized passengers at first complied, and were herded to the back of the plane where they were made to sit on the floor. Soon thereafter, the plane, now somewhere near Cleveland, Ohio, made a sharp left bank into a Southeasterly direction, on a bearing straight for Washington, D.C. About this time the passengers began to use their cell phones and began calling relatives and operators, only to learn that three planes hijacked an hour before had been flown into the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. It was then that the passengers realized that their plane was not to land, but to be used to destroy another target and that they were all going to die. Passenger Mark Bingham was able to reach his mom and tell her about the situation, and to tell her he loved her. Jeremy Glick called his wife and told her, "The others and myself have voted to attack the terrorists. I have my butter knife from breakfast."

Another passenger, Tom Burnett, reached his wife Deena and told her that the plane had been hijacked and that "a group of us is going to do something." She advised him to just sit down and stay quiet, but he replied, "Deena, if they're going to crash the plane into the ground, we have to do something. We can't wait for the authorities. We have to do something now."

Todd Beamer tried to call his wife using one of those phones attached to the back of a seat, an Airfone, but couldn't get authorization for the call. He was transferred to a GTE operator, Lisa Jefferson in Oakbrook, Illinois. Beamer told Lisa that he and some other passengers were planning to jump the terrorists and attempt to regain control of the plane. He asked Lisa to pray with him and the other passengers, and she did, first the Lord's Prayer, then Psalm 23, the Psalm of David, "the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me..."

At the conclusion of the prayer, Todd uttered his famous words that will live in American history, along with such phrases as "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead," "Nuts," "I have not yet begun to fight" and "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country."

Todd said to his fellow passengers, "Are you guys ready? Let's roll!"

Other passengers remained on the phone to loved ones on the ground, and told them that Beamer's group had rushed the cockpit. Honor Wainio told her stepmother. "I need to go, they're getting ready to break into the cockpit. I love you. Goodbye."

Sandy Bradshaw told her husband, "Everyone's running to first class, I've got to go. Bye."
Flight Attendant CeeCee Lyles yelled to her husband, "They're doing it! They're doing it! They're doing it!"

It is clear that the group of passenger heroes, which included Todd Beamer, Tom Barnett, Jeremy Glick and Mark Bingham, rushed the cockpit and fought the terrorists. Shortly thereafter, the plane crashed into the ground in Western Pennsylvania. The last moments are described by Jeff Head at the Memorial Site for Flight 93:

Investigators reviewing all of the evidence, including the cockpit recording, are now operating under the premise that the passengers made their way 110 feet from the rear of the plane to the cockpit, taking out the hijacker claiming to have the bomb along the way. They then stormed the cockpit. The last transmissions on the cockpit recording picked up the sounds of a struggle, of the crash of dishes, a man’s voice screaming loudly. The hijackers are heard calling to each other to hold the door. One of the passengers yells, “Let’s get them!” and then more crashing and screaming. One hijacker tells his confederates that the end is near. The hijackers hurriedly talk about finishing off the plane as the intensity of the struggle grows, and at this point the plane begins to dive. One of the hijackers cry out, “Allah Akbar!” The cockpit voice recorder picks up more shouting by one of the male passengers. . The hijackers apparently begin to fight among themselves for the controls, demanding, “Give it to me.” ... then silence. ... United Airline Flight 93 had plunged nose first into a field about eighty miles south of Pittsburgh, PA, near Shanksville leaving a crater almost fifty feet deep. Nothing was left except the thousands of small charred pieces of the exploded aircraft for officials to sift through.
The heroes of Flight 93 are gone now, but their inspiration remains. Let our own resolve match theirs in our intent to defeat Muslim tyranny and Islamic terrorism, and let us never forget the men and women who fought the terrorists to the death.

You can review the obituaries of 38 of the 40 victims of United Flight 93 at Find A Grave.

The field in Pennsylvania
where Flight 93 went down.


Dag said...

Thanks Stogie.

Anonymous said...

Jesus advocated preparations for self defense.

Luke 22 v [36] Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

Stogie said...

Bro, you would be interested to know that Todd Beamer was a devout Christian.

Anonymous said...

Heart wrenching, Stogie.

I reviewed the film on my blog as you know but I didn't include this. My partner went into the ladies room and there was a strong smell of diarrhea. One women had her guts turned into a knot by the film and was crying on the toilet. When she came out, she was comforted by two female strangers.


Stogie said...

WC, that is truly touching. This film appears to be one of those special films that only come around once in a while.

Anonymous said...

God Bless the heroes of flight 93. They are true heroes.

The irony is that in the minds of the terrorists, they were Allah's heroes. All died that day instantly. Some to everlasting peace, and some to everlasting shame and torment.

I think we can seperate the sheep from the goats huh?

Anonymous said...

All died that day instantly. Some to everlasting peace, and some to everlasting shame and torment.

Mathew 7 22": Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

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