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The Journey Continues: Flight 93

Sunday, May 19, 2019

My journey this week took me to the east coast in Pennsylvania. While traveling off the Interstate, I observed a national park service sign for Flight 93. Realizing that was the crash site of one of the four planes hijacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001 that had been taken down by the passengers and crew, Judy and I turned onto the isolated road. And we were glad we did.

I quote from the information provided to all visitors:

“Sept. 11, 2001, morning: Four commercial airliners are hijacked by al Qaeda terrorist in a planned attack against the United States. Two are flown into the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City. A third is flown into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth plane, United Flight 93, a Boeing 757 bound from Newark, New Jersey, for San Francisco, California, is delayed 25 minutes before takeoff.

“After 46 minutes flying, when over eastern Ohio, hijackers in first class attack at 9:28 a.m., incapacitating the captain and first officer. Hijackers turn Flight 93 southeast, headed for Washington, D.C., most likely the U.S. Capitol.

“Six minutes of struggle kept the airliner from reaching its symbolic target, just 18 minutes flying time to U.S. Capitol from the crash site. Just before 10 a.m. the plane is seen flying low and erratically over southwestern Pennsylvania. At 10:03 it crashes, upside-down, at 563 miles per hour into this Somerset County field. There are no survivors. All 33 passengers, seven crew members, and four hijackers are killed.”

“What happened on board Flight 93? When the terrorist took over the plane, passengers and crew began phoning family, friends, and authorities to report the hijacking. Their calls — 11 people placed 37 calls — told them of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Realizing their plane was part of a planned attack, passengers and crew made a collective decision, by vote, to rush the terrorists and try to retake the plane.”

Notes made by the FBI following their interviews with the phone operators gave the following from GTE/ Airfone operator: She could hear “screams, prayers, exclamations and talk of subduing the hijackers.”

The extraordinary bravery of ordinary men and women who, when challenged, responded with spontaneous leadership and collective acts of courage, sacrifice and heroism needs to be told to our children. Their actions on that terrible day led to a stronger sense of pride, patriotism and resolve among Americans; and it is a reaffirmation of the value of human life.”

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Hand-printed in the back of my Bible is a list of the four things that cause men to act: 1. Fear 2. Faith 3. Hope and 4. Love.

There are different kinds of fear — fear of the water, fear of the dentist, many people fear themselves. I always use this example of overcoming fear: My brother, Lee, fresh off the ranch in west Texas and new to the United States Army, found himself in Airborne Jump School training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He said, “Aboard the first plane I ever was on, and with a parachute strapped to my back, I made my first jump! Boy was I scared.”

Flight 93 stands as a memorial to the brave men and women who overcame their fear.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall.” Psalm 46:1-2

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