Remembering 9/11: Todd Beamer and the Heroes of Flight 93

Remembering 9/11: Todd Beamer and the Heroes of Flight 93

Remembering 9/11: Todd Beamer and the Heroes of Flight 93

Forty-six minutes into a flight bound for San Francisco, the passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93 found themselves in a living nightmare. It was the morning of September 11th, 2001. Some on the flight were learning via messages from family and friends that America was under attack by as-of-yet unknown forces. Two planes had already struck the World Trade Center in New York City, while another had hit the Pentagon. And now their plane had been commandeered by this very same evil.

Todd Beamer’s words would become a rallying cry for a nation in tears. (Click to Enlarge; Photo Credit: dankt95.com)

But the passengers weren’t about to allow a fourth plane to strike another target. And the decision they made that fateful September morning will be remembered forever.

Huddled in the rear of the plane, behind a row of seats and out of sight of the hijackers, a group of passengers voted on whether or not to fight back. Their choice? Fight. Or die.

Just minutes later, Todd Beamer and the other brave men rushed the plane’s cockpit, in hopes of retaking control of the aircraft. A struggle ensued:

(Left to Right) Lou Nacke, Jeremy Glick, Mark Bingham, Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett (Photo Credit: DaveSems.com)

the cockpit recorder picks up the sounds of fighting in an aircraft losing control at 30,000 feet – the crash of trolleys, dishes being hurled and smashed. The terrorists scream at each other to hold the door against what is obviously a siege from the cabin. A passenger cries: ‘Let’s get them!’ and there is more screaming, then an apparent breach. ‘Give it to me!’ shouts a passenger, apparently about to seize the controls.

Instead of the plane hitting its intended target — believed to be The White House or the Capitol Building — it crashed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all 44 passengers onboard.

The recordings are gut-wrenching:

In the aftermath, a GTE Operator recalled Todd Beamer’s final words:

That she did.

You see, the Flight 93 passengers were not victims of 9/11. They were our first warriors, courageous heroes who fought back against a senseless evil hell-bent on bringing America to her knees. With every ounce of their might, on a cloudless, late-summer morning in September, they saved the lives of untold numbers of their fellow Americans, selflessly giving their own over a quiet field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Their memories live on:

9/11 Timeline Walk, Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania (Click to Enlarge All; Photos Courtesy: Trip Advisor Traveler Photos)
Wall of Names, Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Inscription on Glass, Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Boots Donated to the Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

I can only hope, were I ever faced with the same grave situation, and a choice I knew would take my life, I’d somehow summon the courage to do what Todd and all those other courageous and selfless passengers did that pivotal day in September sixteen years ago. Because evil can never win. And America must always stand.

“Let’s Roll.” And never forget.

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