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Flight 93: Sacrifice in the Air
By 8:42 a.m., a forty-minute delay had the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 restless to depart from the Newark International Airport, New Jersey. On board was seventy-nine-year- old Hilda Marcin. She waited patiently in the seventeenth row, anxious to establish a fresh relationship with her eldest daughter in Dansville, Cali.
A fun-loving, inline skater described the effervescent Lauren Grandcolas, another passenger aboard the Boeing 757-200, Flight 93. Returning from her grandmother’s funeral in New Jersey, a gray cloud hovered over Lauren’s vivacious personality as she called her husband to wish him a hopeful, “I love you.”
CeeCee Lyles, 31, had a character as unordinary as her name. Friends easily described her to be “likable” and “talkative”, and as some said, “The life of the party.” Always smiling, CeeCee’s accommodating personality made her the perfect person for her job as a United Airlines Flight attendant. Back on ground, her family, husband Lorne and her four kids, expected a night alone because of the unreliable timing of her job.
As the minute hand strolled around the clock, the wheels of the plane lifted off the runway. Its destination, San Francisco, Cali, lay nearly 8 hours and 2,600 miles away from rainy New Jersey. A message from the FAA sent chills through the cockpit: two flights had been hijacked, and Flight 93 may be the next victim to surrender to terrorists. North American Aerospace Defense Command received the call just as the pilot of Flight 93 did. Lurking in the back corners of Flight 93’s shadows, four, conspiring, Afghan men stole glances at each other, signaling the suicidal end of their lives.
In the cockpit, Pilot Jason Dahl looked at the open sky, swimming with cloudless blue waves. Behind him, an accented voice bellowed, followed by escaped cries that pierced the thick hum of the twin-engine. Pounding on the door of the cockpit set in the realization of things for Dahl. Ziad Jarrah burst through the cockpit doors at 9:30, forcing the pilot to focus on the matters in the cabin. Jarrah took over the plane just as the passengers in the cabin began to fight the threats and restraints of the three other terrorists. The plane, originally headed west, was looped around in a tight u-turn for Jarrah’s own destination, Washington D.C.
An epidemic of fear spread from person to person with the continuous intimidation from the three terrorists. With the hijackers’ claims of having bombs, the passengers knew that they would not survive this flight. As Lauren Grandcolas, Todd Beamer, and Jeremy Glick called home, the news of the hijacked planes that crashed in New York settled through the 37 passengers. They all knew where they were headed and what they had to do.
Calling the FBI to warn them of the onslaught of hijackers on the plane, Todd Beamer issued a “let’s roll.” Around the cabin, men and women alike gathered to defy the chokehold of terrorists on their plane. It rang in their heads that whether they fought back or not, they were going to die—that was definite. However, they had a say as to who else would die under the influence of these hijackers.
Together they fought the two terrorists who were ordered to keep the cabin “under control”. Inside the cockpit, Jarrah and another terrorist heard the chaos in the cabin. Ziad Jarrah attempted to whirl the plane from side to side, hoping to knock the rebellious travelers off their feet. Defiant against his attempts, the passengers remained solid on the ground.
Once they had beaten down the cockpit door, a fight for the controls broke out without hesitation. Boldness empowered the people of Flight 93 to do what they had to do. Saving hundreds of thousands of lives, they crashed the passenger plane in a small town field of Stonycreek Township, Penn.
In all, four Afghan hijackers committed this callous deed. Trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the terrorists were prepared, but inexperienced with the rebellious actions of the passengers on the plane. Their destination for the plane remained Washington D.C.; however, the passengers of Flight 93 clearly changed that for them.
Flight 93 represents the devotion and bravery that our people of America possess as a natural instinct. Many of the passengers on the