Do the names Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick, Tom Burnett, Mark Bingham, Lou Nacke, Rich Guadagno, CeeCee Ross-Lyles, Sandy Bradshaw, Elizabeth Wainio, Laura Grandcolas, Joseph Delus, Linda Gronland, Don Greene, and Andrew Garcia mean anything to you? Do any of these name sound at all familiar?
These are some of the heroes that were on United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. If you will remember back to that day, you will remember that American Flight 11 hit the north tower of World Trade Center at 8:58 a.m. Just minutes later United Flight 175 hit the south tower, and American Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.
United Flight 93 was carrying 37 passengers including 4 terrorists, pilot, co-pilot, and 5 flight attendants. It was 40 minutes late taking off from Newark on its flight to San Francisco, and these 40 minutes proved to be crucial. By the time the terrorists made their move to take over the flight, the first three flights had already hit their targets. Since the passengers on Flight 93 were allowed to make telephone calls, the passengers were able to glean useful information from their loved ones as well as to express their love, goodbyes, etc. From these calls our heroes were very much aware that three airliners had already hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
When the heroes of Flight 93 realized that the terrorist-hijacked airliner was heading for Washington D.C., they assumed that they were heading for another national landmark and decided to attempt to take control of the aircraft. Among the group listed above, there were several who had enough aviation knowledge to fly the aircraft and to land it safely. They knew they could do it if they could wrest control of the airliner from the terrorists, but they also knew that they could die in the attempt.
Flight 93 was 15-20 minutes from Washington D.C. - apparently heading for the White House or the Capital Building - when it hit the ground at 10:03 a.m. Of the four aircraft that took off that morning with terrorists on board, Flight 93 is the only one that went down without killing anyone on the ground. It landed in a grassy meadow in a rural area in Pennsylvania southeast of Pittsburgh.
The heroes of Flight 93 were just a few of the heroes on 9-11. We know that there were many firemen who rushed into the towers to try to save lives but lost their own lives or health from the experience. We also know that policemen were among the First Responders that day. We know that there were many heroes that day and since.
Today I salute all the heroes who serve as policemen, firemen, military personnel, FBI, CIA, etc. who live and die to preserve and to protect our freedoms, our homes and our lives. I also honor the spouses, children, parents, siblings, etc. who support our heroes and allow them to do their jobs and to do them well. THANK YOU TO ALL THE HEROES!
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