• 20 years ago

    • This topic has 9 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago.

    (USA centric post) (My first airplane flight to San Francisco – back when you dressed up for airline travel) I’ve always been a fan of travelling. Car
    [See the full post at: 20 years ago]

    Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #2389153

      I was preparing to leave my place, in Maryland, and waiting for the airport shuttle to pick me up to go to Baltimore Washington International to catch a flight to Portland, Oregon, where there was a meeting of the Institute of Navigation and I was one of the speakers scheduled to make a presentation the following day.

      Then the phone rang (my Princess landline phone).

      “Hello, who is this?”

      ” We are calling you  from the Airport Shuttle Service to let you know we are not coming to pick you up.”

      “Whaat!? Why not?”

      “Are you not looking at the TV?”

      ” No, I am getting ready for you to come and take me to BWI!

      “Sir, the flights have been cancelled. All of them.”

      “And that is explained on TV?”


      So the conversation ended and I was totally furious with this out of the blue cancellation without even being consulted earlier and being offered some satisfactory alternative. Or any alternative at all.

      So I decided to turn on the TV. And there I saw it.

      Oh my God, my dear God!

      And that was not all: a second airliner coming in low, that seemed to materialize suddenly in the picture, hit the burning building an exploded.

      And that was not all. Much closer to home, the news came that the Pentagon had been hit by a passenger airliner crashing against it. Then there was a flood of reports of bombs being planted at the FBI, the Supreme Court and other official buildings. In the event those were found to be untrue and corrected. Except for the Pentagon. And the two towers. And the plane that did not make it, because the passengers stormed the cabin and forced the plane to crash without reaching the White House, its final destination. They all died, hijackers and passengers. The fate of the passengers, the result of true heroism — a concept much devalued these days: anyone in uniform who has completed a tour of duty without as much as a scratch, or a courageous act worth mentioning, is automatically “a hero.”

      Three colleagues and good friends of mine, professors from Barcelona’s Polytechnic University of Catalonia that had come to visit me at NASA’s Goddard, were on their way on a rental car to take their plane at JFK airport in New York, planning to visit Manhattan for a couple of days before flying home. They got to the East River, but were not allowed to proceed across it. And they were to spend there all the days that were to pass until the flights finally resumed. Witnessing every time they looked that way the spectacle across the river.

      That was a day that changed everything and, as I think of that change, not for the better. The world is now smaller and meaner for it. As Susan wrote: “The loss of life is incalculable. But I also grieve at the loss we have now of how the Internet is dividing us more than it should.

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

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    • #2389234

      I was working an evening shift at the time, I went out to have a late breakfast (my usual) around ten. At the stools people were talking about planes hitting buildings and I thought it was a TV show on last night. I was clueless. I usually listen to radio in the morning but perhaps that was just before I bought my new radio. I gradually got the idea that there was something i was missing from the peripheral conversation I was hearing and came home to the news on TV.


      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
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    • #2389255

      As I watched the towers burn on TV I was wondering whether they could rescue the people above the hit line with helicopters – no, too much smoke for that.  When the fire didn’t stop I realized that most if not all of those people were going to die.  The thought that a tower would collapse never entered my mind.  I was dumbfounded when the first one did, and for a minute or so refused to believe what I was seeing.

      Being 20 something in the 70's was much more fun than being 70 something in the 20's.
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    • #2389290

      I too, remember when the skies when the skies went silent. I live in the flight path of the Oceana, Virginia Beach, VA jets/squadrons. They do their daily take offs, touch-and-gos, and landings over my head. I went to sleep with their sounds and often woke up to them. My Dad was 32 years Navy and a squadron CO. This sound was normal to me. Silence was not.

      On the flip side, I will never forget the day, standing in my driveway and sweeping, and I suddenly heard the sound of a jet overhead. I just stopped and looked up. They flew low enough that sometimes I swear you could see the pilot. I just stood there and silently cried. It is an internal swell that I can’t describe. I will always be grateful.

      Jill, a Navy Junior and an Intell IT weenie

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    • #2389313

      True Hero along with the other passengers. My heart aches for them

      Todd: Hello… Operator…listen to me…I can’t speak very loud. – This is an emergency. I’m a passenger on a United flight to San Francisco.. We have a situation here….Our plane has been hijacked…..can you understand me?

      Lisa: (exhaling a deep breath to herself) I understand… Can the hijackers see you talking on the phone?

      Todd: No

      Lisa: Can you tell me how many hijackers are on the plane?

      Todd: There are three that we know of.

      Lisa: Can you see any weapons? What kind of weapons do they have?

      Todd: Yes…. they don’t have guns….they have knives – they took over the plane with knives.

      Lisa: Do you mean…like steak knives?

      Todd: No, these are razor knives…like box cutters.

      Lisa: Can you tell what country these people are from?

      Todd: No…..I don’t know. They sound like they’re from the mid-east.

      Lisa: Have they said what they want?

      Todd: Someone announced from the cockpit that there was a bomb on board. He said he was the captain and to stay in our seats and stay quiet.
      He said that they were meeting these men’s demands and returning to the airport… It was very broken English, and… I’m telling you…it sounded fake!

      Lisa: Ok sir, please give me your name.

      Todd: My name is Todd Beamer.

      Lisa: Ok Todd….my name is Lisa…Do you know your flight number? If you can’t remember, it’s on your ticket.

      Todd: It’s United Flight 93.

      Lisa: Now Todd, can you try to tell me exactly what happened?

      Todd: Two of the hijackers were sitting in first class near the cockpit. A third one was sitting near the back of the coach section. The two up. front got into the cockpit somehow; there was shouting. The third hijacker said he had a bomb. It looks like a bomb. He’s got it tied to his waist with a red belt of some kind.

      Lisa: So is the door to the cockpit open?

      Todd: No, the hijackers shut it behind them.

      Lisa: Has anyone been injured?

      Todd: Yes, ..they…they killed one passenger sitting in first class. There’s been lots of shouting. We don’t know if the pilots are dead or alive. A flight attendant told me that the pilot and copilot had been forced from the cockpit and may have been wounded.

      Lisa: Where is the 3rd hijacker now Todd?

      Todd: He’s near the back of the plane. They forced most of the passengers into first class. There are fourteen of us here in the back. Five are flight attendants. He hasn’t noticed that I slipped into this pantry to get the phone. The guy with the bomb ordered us to sit on the floor in the rear of the plane……….oh Jesus.. Help!

      Lisa: Todd….are you ok? Tell me what’s happening!

      Todd: Hello…..We’re going down….I think we’re going to crash……Wait – wait a minute. No, we’re leveling off….we’re ok. I think we may be turning around…..That’s it – we changed directions. Do you hear me….we’re flying east again.

      Lisa: Ok Todd…. What’s going on with the other passengers?

      Todd: Everyone is… really scared. A few passengers with cell phones have made calls to relatives. A guy, Jeremy, was talking to his wife just before the hijacking started. She told him that hijackers had crashed two planes into the World Trade Center……Lisa is that true??

      Lisa: Todd…..I have to tell you the truth…..it’s very bad. The World Trade Center is gone. Both of the towers have been destroyed.

      Todd: Oh God —help us!

      Lisa: A third plane was taken over by terrorists. It crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC. Our country is under attack….and I’m afraid that your plane may be part of their plan.

      Todd: Oh dear God. Dear God…….Lisa, will you do something for me?

      Lisa: I’ll try….if I can….Yes.

      Todd: I want you to call my wife and my kids for me and tell them what’s happened. Promise me you’ll call..

      Lisa: I promise – I’ll call.

      Todd: Our home number is 201 353-1073…….You have the same name as my wife…Lisa….We’ve been married for 10 years. She’s pregnant with our 3rd child. Tell her that I love her…….(choking up)..I’ll always love her..(clearing throat) We have two boys.. David, he’s 3 and Andrew, he’s 1…..Tell them……(choking) tell them that their daddy loves them and that he is so proud of them. (clearing throat again) Our baby is due January 12th…..I saw an ultra sound…..it was great….we still don’t know if it’s a girl or a boy………Lisa?

      Lisa: (barely able to speak) I’ll tell them, I promise Todd.

      Todd: I’m going back to the group—if I can get back I will…

      Lisa: Todd, leave this line open…are you still there?……

      Lisa: (dials the phone..) Hello, FBI, my name is Lisa Jefferson, I’m a telephone supervisor for GTE. I need to report a terrorist hijacking of a United Airlines Flight 93….Yes I’ll hold.

      Goodwin: Hello, this is Agent Goodwin.. I understand you have a hijacking situation?

      Lisa: Yes sir, I’ve been talking with a passenger, a Todd Beamer, on Flight 93 who managed to get to an air phone unnoticed.

      Goodwin: Where did this flight originate, and what was its destination?

      Lisa: The flight left Newark New Jersey at 8 A.M. departing for San Francisco. The hijackers took over the plane shortly after takeoff, and several minutes later the plane changed course – it is now flying east.

      Goodwin: Ms. Jefferson…I need to talk to someone aboard that plane. Can you get me thru to the planes phone?

      Lisa: I still have that line open sir, I can patch you through on a conference call…hold a mo…..

      Todd: Hello Lisa, Lisa are you there?

      Lisa: Yes, I’m here. Todd, I made a call to the FBI, Agent Goodwin is on the line and will be talking to you as well.

      Todd: The others all know that this isn’t your normal hijacking. Jeremy called his wife again on his cell phone. She told him more about the World Trade Center and all.

      Goodwin: Hello Todd. This is Agent Goodwin with the FBI. We have been monitoring your flight. Your plane is on a course for Washington, DC. These terrorists sent two planes into the World Trade Center and one plane into the Pentagon. Our best guess is that they plan to fly your plane into either the White House or the United States Capital Building.

      Todd: I understand…hold on……I’ll…….I’ll be back..

      Lisa: Mr. Goodwin, how much time do they have before they get to Washington?

      Goodwin: Not long ma’am. They changed course over Cleveland; they’re approaching Pittsburgh now. Washington may be twenty minutes away.

      Todd: (breathing a little heavier) The plane seems to be changing directions just a little. It’s getting pretty rough up here. The plane is flying real erratic….We’re not going to make it out of here. Listen to me….I want you to hear this….I have talked with the others….we have decided we would not be pawns in these hijackers suicidal plot.

      Lisa: Todd, what are you going to do?

      Todd: We’ve hatched a plan. Four of us are going to rush the hijacker with the bomb. After we take him out, we’ll break into the cockpit. A stewardess is getting some boiling water to throw on the hijackers at the controls. We’ll get them….and we’ll take them out. Lisa, …..will you do one last thing for me?

      Lisa: Yes…What is it?

      Todd: Would you pray with me?

      They pray: Our father which art in Heaven

      Hallowed be thy name,

      Thy kingdom come, thy will be done

      on earth as it is in heaven.

      Give us this day our daily bread,

      And forgive us our trespasses

      As we forgive our trespassers,

      And lead us not into temptation

      But deliver us from evil

      For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory


      The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…

      He makes me to lie down in green pastures

      He leads me beside the still waters

      He restores my soul

      He leads me in paths of righteousness

      for His name’s sake

      Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

      I will fear no evil, for thou art with me…..

      Todd: (softer) God help me…Jesus help me….(clears throat and louder)

      Are you guys ready?……..

      Let’s Roll……………………



      Never Say Never

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      • #2389326

        Thanks, CyberSAR. I have not seen the record of this conversation before, although the gist of it was in the press and in the NPR news at the time. Heartbreaking to read what are clearly the words from one person in a group of very brave people that figured out that if they could not find another way out of their predicament and, in the end, it became clear that they were destined to die in that flight, they would do it in a way that would serve the greater purpose of frustrating the plans of those directly responsible for their deaths, their three murderers in fact, while also taking those down with them.

        Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

      • #2389972

        I’ve never seen this transcript before (and I’ve ‘thanked’ the post accordingly), but could we please have a link to the source from which it was taken? Thanks

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    • #2390067

      Todd Beamer and the others on the plane were undoubtedly courageous, and deserving of honour, but the dialogue in the above post just didn’t ring true for me, so I did a little bit of digging on the subject, and I’m afraid I’m going to have to remove my “Thanks”

      According to Snopes, there was NO tape made of the actual call. The purported transcript, although accurate in some respects, is taken mainly from the recollections of the phone operator, Lisa Jefferson, and some notes she made at the time of the call on a Post-It note. It originally appeared on a Christian-focused website called Eternity News

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    Reply To: 20 years ago

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