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A fitting tribute and two fine comparisions to those at the Alamo and Thermopolye. A point well made that those Volunteers in Texas and those Spartans in Greece were soldiers who's duty it was to put themselves in harms way in defense of their fellow citizens. A point not made but just as important, those people on United Flight 93 did not know that they were placing themselves in harms way and would be fighting a enemy that they probably didn't know existed before that day.
There is so much heroism surrounding the actions of those on 9/11 that I could spend all day writing about it, but then who would spend all day reading it? So in the interest of keeping this relatively short I'm just going to talk about just one of those acts of heroism. The time we started fighting back.
I think of things that are often said by those who witness the heroism of others.
Admiral Nimitz during the attack on Iwo Jima of the Marines who fought a tough, determined, and well dug in Japanese enemy: "Of the Marines who fought and died, uncommon valor was a common virtue".
Indeed uncommon valor was alive and well on United Flight 93. Learning that the United States was under a coordinated attack, using passenger jets a missiles, and they were now intractably involved. They had only two choices. To sit quietly and wait to for a rescue attempt or to die. Or they could choose to do something to take control of their own fate.
No one on the plane was looking to crash and die. They were fighting back to live and defeat a cowardly enemy who attacked us through deciet and secrecy. Their intent was to take control of the plane and have an American pilot on board take control and safely land after wrestling control from the terrorists. Once realizing they were about to be defeated, the terrorist pilot purposely crashed the plane in Shanksville Pennsylvania.
With little time and little information to process what was going on around them, they organized quickly, and they chose to fight. On that day they would not be bullied, intimidated, or killed without resistance. On that plane, those brave souls started our national response to the terrorists who would kill us for no other reason than their own self gratification. Those citizens turned warriors showed the entire world what's best about the United States, her citizens, and why we are the last best hope for all people yearning to live free.
The hero's of United Flight 93 also showed their fellow citizens that beneath it all, when push comes to shove, that we are all Americans. We share a common bond. That freedom is not free, but comes with the highest possible cost. And those hero's surviving family members tell us, that it was a price worth paying. Those surviving family members feel a completely justified sense of pride, and only ask that we remember.
Today I am writing about what struck me most that day. But that in no way means it was the most important event of that day. The first responders in New York City and those at the Pentagon, their heroism is in no way less than that of United Flight 93 passengers. They too need to be remembered and I want to acknowledge all the lives the NYC first responders and military personnel at the Pentagon saved that day.
It was just fate the passengers of United Flight 93 were in a position to tell our enemy "the hell you will" and be the first to spit back into the eye of our collective enemies. Those hero's represented their country and fellow citizens with uncommon valor.