I’ve long held (hoped) that United Airlines Flight 93 was actually shot down by the US military, and that the event was hushed up to avoid disturbing the public and that the tale of heroism by the flight’s passengers was hyped to create a rallying cry (“Let’s Roll”) and to cover the real cause for the hijackers’ failure to hit Washington, DC.

I just started my cover-to-cover reading of the 9/11 Commission Report, and I’ve changed my mind about Flight 93 after reading the summary of events on the plane that morning in Chapter 1 (beginning on page 10).

There’s no doubt that the Commission was a partisan showboat of an effort, but as a simple citizen I guess I don’t have much choice at this point but to buy what I’m being sold. At least it’s not as hard as swallowing the “lone gunman” and “magic bullet theory” ideas must have been in the mid-1960s.

Any feelings on reactions to this report compared to the Warren Commission report? I know it’s early, and most people haven’t been able to wade through the whole thing yet, but snatching that “first glance” impression might be valuable when we want to step back and reflect on this somewhere down the road.

I really wished we had shot Flight 93 down.

On the morning of 9/11, I was pulled away from my office’s desk and its internet connection to attend a 10:00 meeting about production schedules. It felt surreal as I walked from my office in the back corner of the building to the plant manager’s near the front, and of course everyone I passed was talking about that morning’s events. I had called my wife at home, and she told me the TV was talking about a plane crash in Pennsylvania, but that the announcers said they had been told it didn’t appear related to the hijackings.

While we were waiting for the meeting to begin, someone asked me if there were more than just the three planes. I told him that there was apparently a fourth, but that it had crashed in a rural area and that the news people said it wasn’t related to the attacks. “Yeah, sure,” he said. “Just a complete coincidence.” I agreed and said that maybe we had shot it down on its way somewhere. I don’t remember if he asked me more or if I just volunteered the opinion, but I added that I “hoped” we had, since it would mean that “we could”.

While not 100% convinced, as of tonight I’m willing to buy the passengers-caused-the-Flight-93-failure scenario. I guess I’ll soon read more about our ability (or lack thereof) to intercept hijacked airliners.

And yes, I purchased a printed version of the report. I fully realize that it’s available online, and I’ve spent a little time with the PDFs already. Call me oldskool, but it’s just not the same as sitting down with a book. And I get to use my highlighter.

UPDATE: Upon further review, I’ve realized that I couldn’t possibly have been talking about the destruction of Flight 93 while waiting for a 10:00 meeting to begin, since it didn’t crash until 10:03. I pulled my old day planner, but I made no note of the meeting in my hand-written schedule, which isn’t terribly unusual. I went into my Outlook archives, and there it is. 11:00 – Building Committee Presentation. Apparently we looked at some slides about how we were going to manage capacity through the end of the year.

I remember none of that, though the discussion about Flight 93, the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon is very clear.


  1. You made a point, that has been picking at the back of my brain, when you stated, ‘I ‘hoped’ we had, since it would mean that ‘we could’.’ Not an easy order to give, nor to follow. Perhaps it boils down to leadership (to give the order) and dedication (to carry it out). If it may have happened; my gratitude to all involved; may it continue for the sake of our Country. As is attributed to George Orwell. ‘People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.’ Thank you to all that allow me to sleep.