Post Top Ad

Flight 93 and July 4th

Flight 93 and July 4th 

The July 4th holiday is too often marked by automobile-dealer sales, excessive consumption of alcohol, and lawn-games like Corn Hole or Badminton. 

This 4th the family and I did something different. We visited the Memorial to the 40 victims of United Flight 93. This was 1 of 4 airplanes hijacked on September 11, 2001 by terrorists intent on crashing the aircraft into various symbols of American power. 

Two of the planes destroyed the World Trade Center in New York, a symbol of American commercial and financial power. The third took out the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Department of Defense, the symbol of American military power. 

The fourth plane, United Flight 93, never reached its intended target, the US Capitol, an enduring symbol of American democracy, recognizable the world over as such. 

The terrorists who hijacked Flight 93 failed in their mission of death and destruction, thanks to the quick thinking and bravery of the 40 crew members and passengers aboard Flight 93, who refused to be part of the terrorists' evil plot. They forced the plane down in a rocky, but beautiful field in Western Pennsylvania, far short of the terrorists' intended target in Washington, DC. 

Viewing the Memorial that commemorates their bravery standing up to the tyranny of terrorism, I was struck by the similarity to two other national monuments in Pennsylvania, Independence Hall and Valley Forge Military Park. 

Independence Hall being where the American Founding Fathers' Continental Congress met to pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor in their rebellion agains what they saw as the tyranny of British King George, knowing that if their plot failed they would be ruined.

 Valley Forge, of course, was the site of Gen. George Washington's Revolutionary War Army encampment near Philadelphia during the brutally cold winter of 1777-1778. No battle was fought as Vally Forge, but hundreds of solders succumb to disease, hunger, and the cold. Vally Forge was one of the war's turning points. The forge on which a nation was formed.

The courage and resolve that the Flight 93 crew and passengers showed in the face of certain death  was similar to that shown by the Founders at Independence Hall. 

Similarly, the survivors at Vally Forge looking out of their cabins at their mates being carried away could have felt the same hopelessness that some of those aboard Flight 93 may have felt looking through the cabin windows seeing that Pennsylvania field getting closer and closer