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.
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:
…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: