Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I am A Survivor of Flight 93

Originally posted on Sunday, September 11, 2005

Why is it, that 40 Americans who sacrificed their lives to stop a missile attack on Washington have never been awarded the Medal of Freedom (left). Something like that would seem worthy of the nation's highest civilian honor. Instead, we've since seen the former CIA Director who completely missed 9/11 and provided bad intel on Iraq receive it.

When our politicians, our military, our government as a whole failed us four years today, it fell upon private, American citizens to lead the fight.

They weren't even supposed to be the "last line of defense." They, being civilians, were supposed to be what our politicians, our military, our government as a whole existed to defend.

They weren't supposed to be the "last line of defense," but they became the first Americans to fight back -- somewhere over a peaceful field in Pennsylvania, the passengers and crew of Flight 93 fought the first battle in the War in Terrorism.

David Von Drehle in the July 23, 2004, edition of the Washington Post summed it up:
"Only a small band of civilians, strangers to one another -- without benefit of staff meetings, bylaws, uniforms or task forces -- communicating by cell phone with loved ones who happened to be watching TV -- managed to figure out what was going on in time to thwart a guided-missile attack on Washington.

Brave passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 forced hijackers to crash the plane into an empty field far short of its target."

I am a survivor of Flight 93.

There were no survivors on that plane, but the passengers and crew made sure there were hundreds if not thousands of survivors on the ground.

I was at the US Capitol when Flight 93 would have hit it.

Every 9/11 since, I have planted daffodils -- the unofficial flower of 9/11. The government of the Netherlands made a gift to New York City of tens of thousands of daffodil bulbs in the wake of the attack.

It's a quiet form of remembrance.

And they remind me every spring I am alive because forty people are dead and buried.

It's surprisingly tiring planting 40 bulbs.

Breaking the ground, placing each one carefully spaced and at just the right depth, covering them and watering them.

It would be a lot easier for the President to fill out the paperwork for 40 heroes.

Another President remembered other Americans who were buried in another peaceful Pennsylvania field this way:

"...that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain..."

This week we saw a monument for the Flight 93 crash site unveiled. We cannot consecrate the field where the passengers and crew of Flight 93 anymore than their actions have already done.

We can honor them as much as we have the man who missed the plot (right) that forced them to give up their lives for their country.

They should receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Terry Turner)

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