Saturday, September 11 marks the 20th anniversary of the worst attack against the U.S. since the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Terrorists, willing to sacrifice themselves, hijacked planes while in the air and flew into three buildings: two in Manhattan, and one in Washington, D.C. Their plan that morning was also to fly into a fourth building, possibly the White House or the U.S. Capitol Building, but the passengers on the fourth flight, Flight 93, had become aware of what was going on through their cell phones. They had been flying west when the terrorists took over the plane and turned it around to head east. The passengers knew they were part of this unthinkable attack on their country.
What to do? Somehow, they were able to agree that they needed to stop this plane from doing any more damage. They would rush the cockpit, overtake the terrorist pilots and, well… At that point, they felt fairly sure that they could all die.
As it flew closer to the target, many of the passengers called home to say goodbye. Most reached their intended contact. Three of these calls were recorded because no one was home to answer.
Flight 93 has a link to Pennsylvania, for it crashed in a field near Shanksville, PA.
“Let’s roll,” commanded one of the men who rushed the pilot’s compartment. The terrorist pilots, trying to fight off the passengers, inverted the plane… nose down at a 40-degree angle… at about 560 miles per hour… coming in low over a vast meadow and crashed.
Bits and pieces of 44 lives (including the terrorists) were scattered for miles across the meadow, now called “A Field of Honor.” A huge crater marked the place. Now, 20 years later, a wall has been placed back a short distance, in order to preserve the sanctity of the meadow. On the wall are the names of the passengers and crew.
Altogether, 2977 people died in those four attacks, plus 19 terrorists.
Today the US is a solemn place.