History-Altering Decisions

#2

Flight 93’s Passengers Storm the Cockpit

2/10
An impromptu memorial near the crash site

An impromptu memorial near the crash site

Books have been written, movies made, tributes delivered, and a national memorial planned, but nothing can repay the courage or erase the memory of the 40 passengers and crew members of United Flight 93, who stood up to terror on September 11, 2001. Their sacrifice averted a larger loss of life and, in all probability, saved the U.S. Capitol or the White House, symbols of American governance. Lincoln said it well 146 years before at Gettysburg, not far from where Flight 93 met its end near a reclaimed coal strip mine in rural Pennsylvania: “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here but it can never forget what they did here.” What the passengers and crew of Flight 93 did was inject light and hope into a day that had no light. They had no illusions. “I know we’re all going to die,” said one in a final cell-phone call to his wife moments before Todd Beamer issued his summons to storm the cockpit with his now famous words, “Let’s roll.” Courage on the battlefield is one thing. Courage against overwhelming odds is another. Flight 93’s passengers and crew and the heroes who died responding to the World Trade Center and Pentagonattacks are proof that good can persist in the face of overwhelming evil. And history shows that good usually wins in the long run.

Specter is a Democrat representing Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter.

2/10

Discussion