9/11/2001: Todd Beamer, Flight 93, “Let’s Roll”

On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Often referred to as 9/11, the attacks resulted in extensive death and destruction, triggering major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defining the presidency of George W. Bush. Over 3,000 people were killed during the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., including more than 400 police officers and firefighters.  A timeline of the events on September 11, 2001.

This post is a tribute to Todd Beamer and the other passengers on that fourth plane:  Flight 93.  The plane was 20 minutes of flying time from its suspected target: the White House or the U.S. Capitol, symbols of the American Republic.  The four hijackers were defeated by the alerted, unarmed passengers.


According to the 9/11 Commission Report

"At 9:57, the passenger assault began.  Several passengers had terminated phone calls with loved ones in order to join the revolt.  One of the callers ended her message as follows:  “Everyone’s running up to first class.  I’ve got to go.  Bye.

"The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds of the passenger assault muffled by the intervening cockpit door.  Some family members who listened to the recording report that they can hear the voice of a loved one among the din.  We cannot identify whose voices can be heard.  But the assault was sustained.

"In response, Jarrah immediately began to roll the airplane to the left and right, attempting to knock the passengers off balance.  At 9:58:57, Jarrah told another hijacker in the cockpit to block the door.  Jarrah continued to roll the airplane sharply left and right, but the assault continued……” See 9/11 Commission Report