Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thoughts On This 9/11 Anniversary

Not only is today the anniversary of the original 9/11 attacks, it is also the two year anniversary of the attacks on our Benghazi consulate, the murders of four Americans there, and the subsequent cover-up.

Looking back on that day, I can only weep as I ponder the current and (God forbid) future CinC...

Of course, today it's 13 years later, not 12, but the point remains as valid as ever.

How can this traitorous lying hag be considered a viable candidate for the presidency?

On a more inspirational note, last Sunday Parade magazine had this story about  Heather "Lucky" Penny, former F-16 pilot.
In September 2001, Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney was a 26-year-old rookie with the 121st Fighter Squadron of the D.C. Air National Guard, at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. For the daughter of a combat ­pilot who’d served in Vietnam, it was a dream come true. But in one of the lesser-known stories of the 9/11 attacks, Penney found herself called upon that day to do something she had never anticipated: Stop a hijacked commercial airliner with 40 passengers and crew onboard. Now a mother of two and an executive at Lockheed Martin, Maj. Penney, 39, spoke with Parade about her experience.

PARADE: Tell us about the morning of 9/11.
We had a skeleton crew that Tuesday. It was very quiet. We were in the middle of a meeting when Dave “Chunks” Callaghan, who ran the operations desk, stuck his head in and told us, “Somebody just flew into the World Trade Center.” We looked outside; it was a crystal blue day. We wondered how anyone could mess up their instrument approach that badly. It wasn’t until he opened the door again and said a second plane had crashed into the second tower that we knew it was on purpose.

What happened next?
After the Pentagon was hit, the Secret Service called and ordered us to get airborne. We had an idea there was another aircraft coming toward Washington. [Editor’s note: The fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, was believed to be headed to the White House or the Capitol.] Because we’d just returned from a training mission in Nevada, there weren’t any missiles or bombs or high-explosive bullets on the airplanes, and it was going to be a while before the weapons people could get the missiles built up. My commander, Col. Marc “Sass” Sasseville, looked at me and said, “Lucky, you’re with me.”

What went through your mind as you took off?
I was thinking this was the one thing in my life that I had to get right. I had already given myself up, knowing what my duty was.

What was the plan?
Sass said, “I’ll take the cockpit”—meaning he would ram the airliner. I knew I’d take the tail. If you take the tail off an airplane, it can’t fly.

Did you ever get a direct order to bring down the plane?
Our duty was clear—to protect and defend. I don’t remember ­being told, “Go take down that airliner.” All I remember is ­knowing for sure that’s what we had to do. It wasn’t until later that day that we received “free-fire” orders, meaning we could fire upon [anything] that we considered a threat.

Of course, as it turned out, you never intercepted Flight 93.
We couldn’t find the plane, so we went back to D.C. to make sure it hadn’t snuck around us. Then we helped set up a protective cover over D.C. We were airborne for about four and a half hours, ­landed, and took off again in ­aircraft configured with missiles. It was a long time before we learned that the passengers had taken control of the aircraft from the terrorists. [Editor’s note: Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pa., at 10:03 a.m., killing ­everyone ­onboard.]

What was your reaction when you heard what the passengers had done?
They were true heroes. Because of what they did, we didn’t have to. They averted further tragedy, confusion, and chaos and thwarted those who would do our nation harm. These were average, everyday Americans who gave their lives to save countless more. That selflessness reminds us that we are part of something greater than ourselves, that there are things in this world more important than ourselves.

Do you think back often on the events of 9/11?
At first I was disgusted by the sensationalism and fear-­mongering that the media stoked in the wake of 9/11. It utterly desecrated our nation’s experience, and I wanted nothing to do with it. But when I reflect back now, I think about the many moments of heroism and bravery from everyone whose lives intertwined with the events of that day. And I am proud and heartened to know that there truly is nothing unique about what Sass and I did. All over the country, active duty [service members] and reservists responded on 9/11. If I hadn’t been there, ­another airman would have been, and just as honorably done their duty. We were not the first and we are not the last.
We are a very fortunate country to have people like her and her compatriots among us. God Bless.

I've always thought that the tale of Flight 93 has been under-reported and under-appreciated. Much has been made of the two planes flying into the WTC, no doubt because of the spectacular nature of the attack, the horrific loss of life, and the vivid video tapes. But IMO the story of Flight 93 and the heroic actions of the passengers deserves equal billing. One book that tells that story is Among the Heroes, a narrative of United Flight 93 and the people who fought back against the evil attacking our country on that terrible day.

When I look back on that day 13 years ago, and then look around today, I am saddened by how much we seem to have forgotten about the nature of the people savages who planned and carried out that attack. I am equally saddened by how divided our country has become. It reminds me so much of the social unrest during the Vietnam war. I can only hope and pray that there is a another Ronald Reagan out there somewhere who will unite a fragmented country.

4 comments:

Old NFO said...

Yep, she stepped up, as did many others... And those stories will never be told because they died in the Towers, onboard Flight 93, and in the Pentagon... May they Rest In Peace, and the attackers burn in hell!

CenTexTim said...

Amen, brother!

Bear said...

My girl and I stopped to see the recent changes to the Flight 93 memorial a few months back, as it's only a few hours away from us. It was my second time there, and both times were very moving. The story of Flight 93 is what true heroism is all about.

CenTexTim said...

One of these days I'll see it - maybe when it's finished...